Whether it be the band’s Rufio cover or the New Found Glory font on their debut full length, Tonight Alive emits fun pop-punk from the bottom up. This group of Aussies blew up in the past year after signing to Fearless Records and with the American release of their debut album What Are You So Scared Of? slated for later this month and a full run on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour, it can only be assumed that the band will gain many more new fans. But before we look too far ahead we need to visit the task at hand.
What Are You So Scared Of? is enough proof that Tonight Alive is perfectly suited for success in the States. Whether it be elements such as the big chorus of “Let It Land” and “To Die For” or the near-perfect guest spot from Mark Hoppus of America’s most recognizable pop-punk band Blink-182, Tonight Alive put all of the pieces together in 14 tracks of catchy female-fronted jams.
Now with every female fronted group, the comparisons between the band in question and the ever so dramatic Paramore are evident. Normally that immediate notion is inappropriate and unnecessary, but with Tonight Alive it couldn’t be more fitting. “Fake It” and “Listening” could be placed on any Paramore album and not many people would realize that it is an entirely different group. At times it feels like the only difference between the two groups is internal drama, worldwide recognition and nudez. But those uncanny resemblances turn out to be the only downfall of What Are You So Scared Of?
As the album progresses one can easily find something to love in at least a few tracks. “Sure As Hell” and “Thank You & Goodnight” are enough to appease any fan of pop-punk as the latter (which features Hoppus) contains one of the best choruses on the album. Slowing it down a bit are “Safe and Sound” and the indubitable ballad “Amelia” in which Jenna McDougall displays her vocal chops proudly.
Instrumentally, What Are You So Scared Of? can be repetitive as it seems the guitar riffs, while showing enough flair to make it fun, all blend together in a monotonous fashion. Luckily, McDougall’s fantastic vocal performance is enough to save where it seems the musicianship tends to waver.
Fearless outdid themselves when they nabbed this group off the market. While this debut has its shortcomings, much like any other debut, it still contains enough positives to be considered a solid record overall and even more solid as a debut. Tonight Alive built a name for themselves with their previous EPs, but this record will be enough to put them over the top.