Post-hardcore fans (ie: those shunned by any fans of “metal”) have been chomping at the bit, a la the release of the new GTA, for A Day To Remember’s latest opus of pop punk corollary, “Common Courtesy.” Although we’ve waited like starved puppies for this record, it’s perfectly understandable as our boys in ADTR were intwined in a lawsuit with big dog (no literally, their logo is a big dog) Victory Records. Literally 3 days before release, the band won their lawsuit and what better way to kick that off than with “Common Courtesy’s” release? I don’t know about you, but I was in exactly the right place for some good ol’ pop punk/post hardcore. So lets jump into the gelatine pool and join ADTR in their release party.
The album opens with the Speedy Gonzalez pace as “City Of Ocala” takes us back to young ADTR. The great balance of upbeat punk rock and chorus breakdown really do signify a band on the horns of a return (the very long horns that stretched 3 years). Lyrically you can tell that frontman Jeremy McKinnon’s thrown his heart into this, as all vocalists should, and by god does it work…may have shed a tear or two…not because I’m homesick…shush
The album transcends to second single “Right Back At It Again”, sounding almost like a combination of “Show ‘Em The Ropes” (For Those Who Have A Heart, 2007) and “The Downfall of Us All” (Homesick, 2009). The gang vocal of “WE’RE COMING OUT SWINGIN’!” immediately launches us into the metaphysical moshpit created, before the track picks up the pace. It also includes one of the greatest bridges I’ve listened to with partyboys Kevin Skaff and Neil Westfall prominently displaying their pop punk chops (do pop punkers have chops?…well they do now!).
“Sometimes you’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail” brings the first aspect of the “huge metal influence” that we’ve heard so much about (take that “post hardcore’s not metal” adjucators). It sounds almost like (old) Trivium, with a clean sung chorus and a heavy as hell verse with growled vox to boot. “Dead and Buried” and first single “Violence [Enough is Enough]” definitely back the fact that the band can go heavy if they choose, and I’ll be honest, it’s heavier than a lot of “metal” releases lately. “Violence” also has some of the greatest lyrics I’ve heard in a while, I mean c’mon, “Heavy lies the crown as I cut you down”, who couldn’t like that? “Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way” is essentially “2nd Sucks” (What Separates Me From You, 2011) on steroids…in short it’s heavy for those that didn’t understand.
This album also brings out the band’s love of acoustic songs (yes, acoustic is not metal, this isn’t a metal record, now piss off), as well as the old fashioned pop punk that we know and love. “I’m Already Gone” and “I Surrender” provide great breaks in an otherwise fast paced record. “Best Of Me” and “Life @ 11” balance this perfectly by picking the record up again, pop punking it to the point of beer pong, jager, dancing on a pool table, letting of a foam cannon and balloons…lets just say that I know what’ll be next to Andrew W.K. on my party playlist 😉
Overall, “Common Courtesy” has been well worth the wait. It’s a mix of different styles with A Day To Remember maintaining they’re uniqueness that allows them to succeed where other bands of the genre have failed. “Common Courtesy” is a giant middle finger to the industry, being self-released, and a statement of a band that are ready to reclaim the post-hardcore crown (most likely made out of beer bottles).
I’m giving “Common Courtesy” a:
“Common Courtesy” – 4/5
“Common Courtesy” is available NOW on the band’s website http://www.adtr.com