Against The Current’s long awaited debut record In Our Bones is finally here! The band’s five-year growth has finally led up to their first record from Fueled By Ramen, and brings up the electronic influences to create a slightly poppier sound than previous releases while still maintaining the core pop-rock vibe.
The first thing to note about the record is the appeal. It’s definitely an Against The Current release, it has the core elements of the band written all over it, but, perhaps by the hands of Fueled By Ramen, has a lighter approach to it. No giant guitar bridges are present and the electronics and Chrissy Constanza (up there for cutest frontwoman out there) seem to take a more important place on the record. The music seems to be more of a backing to Chrissy instead of all of them being equally important, as past efforts seemed to do. The electronic influence is definitely something much more prevalent in the album, most evident in songs like ‘Forget Me Now’ with its synth intro.
While electronics are now a major component of the tracks, there are a lot of raw moments on it. Title track ‘In Our Bones’ is an acoustic track backed by strings, piano, and guitar, lacking any overarching presence of electronica. That being said, the song is pretty cheesy, while still being sweet. Stronger songs like ‘Wasteland’ blend the elements of both ends of the spectrum together into a massive track, filled with atmosphere and giant guitar punches. The vocals also remind me of Bea Miller, for some reason. Intro track ‘Running With The Wild Things’ also has a similar punchiness that perfectly hypes up the record. Some songs take a more safe path, ‘Runaway’ working off the classic formula of U2 with powerchords in the verses and sweet riffs splashed in delay.
Chrissy crushes it with her stellar vocals on this record. Her vocals demand attention with their confident belting and fullness. Her melodies are fantastic, ‘Blood Like Gasoline’ being a prime example of a great melody that compliments the instrumental wonderfully. ‘Chasing Ghosts’ highlights the strength of her voice, really showing off her great range. The verses take it slow and mellow, while the choruses explode with soaring notes.
As much praise as it deserves, this album paves the way for the band’s follow up to it. There’s a lot of room for improvement. One problem with it is that it almost feels like the album is having an identity crisis, as if it can’t tell whether it wants to be a pop rock anthemic record or one fit more to a comfortable radio-friendly sound. It doesn’t take many risks, which is, perhaps, to be expected of a debut, but after being in the game for half a decade, the band should be ready to try some different tactics. Some songs on the record just find themselves contradicting themselves in ways and defeating their purpose. ‘Roses’ has a sad but sweet meaning to it, but that meaning is lost with how happy the instrumental is. It’s not even that there’s a strong optimism to the subject, it’s just a misplaced mood of the instrumental to the lyrics. ‘Demons’ is a pretty standard song, but as a record closer, lacks a sense of finality that would end the album on a high note. It feels like another song you’d find in the middle of the record and skip on a casual listen.
Debut records always make or break a band. Luckily, In Our Bones is a pretty solid starter for Against The Current’s career. It struggles within itself to find its own purpose as well as compromising some of its songs’ own meanings, but part of evolving is learning from mistakes. The band’s follow up will show whether or not they harbor these faults or correct them. There’s a good amount of time before that LP comes around, and luckily, this record has plenty of jams to keep that time gap filled.
Favorite Tracks: Wasteland, Blood Like Gasoline, Running With The Wild Things
Least Favorite Track: In Our Bones