Yes, Vinnie. We hear you loud and clear. It’s been a long six years since I Am the Avalanche released their 2005 self-titled debut. In that time, Vinnie Caruana reunited the band that made him famous, The Movielife, played as a solo musician and did guest work on albums by artists like Bayside and Set Your Goals. But now, six years later, the timing seems perfect for Caruana to resurrect I Am the Avalanche. Their sophomore album, Avalanche United, gives fans exactly what they have come to expect from a Caruana-sung record: gritty vocals, catchy riffs and heartfelt performances.
On the opener “Holy Fuck,” Caruana sings about the time passed since the last IATA record. The song is catchy, but fairly typical, that is until the conclusion where Caruana goes all-out, shouting the verse in an extremely hoarse voice. Songs like “Brooklyn Dodgers,” “Amsterdam,” and “You’ve Got Spiders” contain a lot of emphasis on the poppiness of pop-punk, which has had a bit of a rebirth since the band’s last record.
While Caruana is the obvious focal point of the record, the guitar work from Mike Ireland and Brandon Swanson is catchy punk rock riffs at their best. The instrumentation on “The Place You Love is Gone” is fairly standard and not technically outstanding, but there is something about the ease that makes it pleasant. The instrumentals in the intro of the closer, “Gratitude,” almost sound like instrumentation from a Nirvana song. When they reappear in the chorus with Caruana’s vocals, the result is fantastic. With bands like their tour-mates Transit and pop-punk giants The Wonder Years merging diverse instrumentals with pop-punk vocals, it’s nice to see a band succeed by staying in the roots of the genre. (Read: This is not a knock on those other bands at all).
This isn’t the best pop-punk album of the year, but it’s definitely nice to hear something this firmly rooted in the genre that sounds this good. It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard Caruana on record and the result is a very good one. Hopefully it doesn’t take the band another six years to release a record.