Like every other cliché fan of pop punk, I’ve had this crazy love-hate relationship with my home-state for as long as I can remember. But the one thing I’ve always loved about boring old Connecticut, besides my favorite pizza parlor, was the music. While it wasn’t necessarily the most heavily populated with fans, there is some serious musical talent in this state across almost all genres. And at nearly every one of my favorite local pop punk shows, A Will Away was on the lineup, performing a contagiously energetic set that was sure to make any show go from fun to unforgettable.
But the greatest thing about this band (and I said it in my review of their last album, Product of Your Environment) is that they’ve always been able to capture the energy they create during their live performances in their recordings, and their newest release, Cold Weather, is no different.
This review to voice how I feel about this record is long overdue. A Will Away is a band I’ve held near and dear to my heart for quite some time, and after releasing the near-perfection I’ve always known POYE to be, the standard at which I judge their music now is pretty high. So when I heard they were releasing a new EP, I was a little nervous at first. The sound they created with POYE was all-encompassing – it was angsty, but mature; personal, but relatable. I have never heard anyone speak negatively of that record. But I worried that they would, like so many other bands do, try (and fail) to replicate the sound of that album because of the positive response it received and, in turn, not really progress in any way.
But the truth is, Cold Weather squashed every ounce of doubt I had as soon as I pressed play and heard the very beginning of “Carousel.” The lyrical content of this album is the best it’s ever been for A Will Away, radiating passion and honesty through every word. Even if you haven’t personally experienced what the band describes in a given song, I guarantee you’ll feel like you understand them completely.
Musically, A Will Away is at their best on this album as well. “Carousel” and “Lines in The Sand” are driven toward a more alternative-sounding style that the band has employed to highlight their best features. They’re lighter than their previous tracks, almost airy, if it’s even possible to sound like that. They’re kind of dancey and soothing to some extent, but passionate and driving at the same time, and they highlight all of the band’s best features. Lead vocalist Matt Carlson shows off his killer vocal range, complementing the rest of the band’s talented performances as drummer Sean Dibble and bassist John McSweeny flawlessly frame Ryan Cool and Collin Waldron’s on-point duo-guitar dynamic. “Livin” does the same along similar lines, but hints back to the style of some of their prior releases.
“The Masochist’s Daughter” and “True North” are pretty much exactly what fans of A Will Away would expect this band to release at this point in their career with the harsher, more in-your-face attitude that POYE held. But the band sounds more cohesive than ever on these tracks, making them two of the best I’ve heard from them to date.
A Will Away are proving themselves to be a band that will never put out the same record twice. It’s an old music industry cliché, but let’s face it, those are the bands that leave their mark. They’ve never put out a bad song or released a bad album, and Cold Weather is no different. There’s not a song on this EP I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend to any fan of great music. You can hear the band’s progression both musically and lyrically in maturity and skill, and this is, without a doubt, the band’s best release yet.