Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said the Last Time I Saw You
The deceptively kind-sounding, Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You, is like a cancer that spreads. This writer wants to hate it and everything it stands for: the proximity to One Tree Hill and its teen angsty progeny; its incessantly poppy hooks; its catchy Oh Oh Ohs. But, try as we might, this record is likeable. It has beaten us down with its optimism and bang-bang-bang-on-the-ivories ways. Frontman Michael Grubbs has taken billboard topping cues from his fellow (though younger) actors on OTH and has crafted the band’s first full length that just breathes coming of age drama.
Each track on this record feels like it was written purely to wind up on the soundtrack of a down-on-your-luck come-uppance set in any small American town. AEIWISTLTISY appeals to our middling sentiments in the way that sometimes its nice to listen to a feel-good song while mopping or (insert any monotonous chore here). In other words, it is pleasantly unassuming.
“Got It All Wrong,” “Square Peg Round Hole,” “Light Outside,” and “Car Crash” are perfect examples of cuts that have to go straight to the production team for the next high school drama or the sequel to anything starring Amanda Seyfried. Each questions doomed relationships in that kick-in-your-locker kind of way. Grubbs’ vocals are crisp and satisfying (especially on “Car Crash”) but ever-so-affected. Really, it sounds like he’s reading the lyrics from a script where the guy just lost the girl. (He’s probably more into theatre and she’s probably more into cheerleading but they really tried to make it work.)
“The Oh Song” and “Feral Love” stand out as the most passionate among the other cotton-candy (sweet and sticky but they disappear the second they hit your tongue) washouts. On “The Oh Song,” Wakey! Wakey! pull from the metal ballad school of crooning. Grubbs shows us some power here but keeps it broody. On “Feral Love,” the band shows a range beyond the catchy keyboard and easy-to-sing-along-with chorus. There’s a slow, sulky intro that feels more mature than many of the other tracks on the record. Accompanied by sweet violin interludes and a fun girl choir, this track builds up to a full orchestral inquiry and Grubbs sings, believably, “My love, what have you done?”
On a final note, this writer can’t resist pointing out the likeness between the title track and Adam Lambert’s “What Do You Want From Me?” At that, the entirety of the record plays like a finale on American Idol.
More by this writer:
Les Savy Fav - Root for Ruin
Local Natives - Live - Sept. 17, 2010
Wolf Parade - Live - July 31, 2010
Jesus Makes The Shotgun Sound - Interview