| Having had ample time to enjoy this, Near Miss' latest release, I have got to say; Takeover Records is growing on me. I'll admit, I was very ambiguous towards this album at first, as post-hardcore isn't really my main thing; sure, I listen to FFTL, I reviewed Boys' Night Out, yeah, but typically I go out looking more for punk or rock sounds. So lo! Imagine how intrigued I was to listen to the self-styled rock/punk/post-hardcore Near Miss.
The album gets off to a nice start with distortion in the intro to "Serious Mess." Seriously, coming in heavy with guitar always makes a good first impression. Initially, the vocals were a turn-off for me; we begin with screaming; not that I was surprised, just that it immediately got shuffled into the "bad-mood-music" file in my head. However, the guitar in between made me happy. Then, when we got into the actual sung lyrics, I actually started paying attention; while it never bodes well that the chorus is the best part, I did revise my opinion of the song; Far from being bad-mood-music, the non-screamed vocals and very nice instrumental interludes made this a song to listen to regularly.
The second track, however, was less great. In spite of really nice, balanced vocals and wicked, fast guitar, the lyrics to this song aren't really up to snuff. "Freedom, f*cking freedom"? It's too general and overdone of a "punk rebellion" song, with shallow political overtones. But hey, it's short, it's fast, and it has nice guitar.
"Now Rectify" is one that grows on you--it seemed to me at first to be a run-of-the-mill bitchy song, but hey, if you're going to take that attitude, why bother trying out new music? So I listened some more, and while it still kind of seems a bit superficial in its screaming bits, it's a fun song to listen to, maybe sing along to, and probably a lot of fun to play.
"Falling Out" finally mellows it out a bit. Not, you know, a lot, but slightly. Good, catchy, relateable lyrics sung well to pretty guitar. It's... it's just a really nice song. Great rhythms, for the most part, especially with the instrumental interludes.
Now, if "Falling Out" seemed a bit more pop punk than the previous songs, then "Take It Back" seems an even farther digression from what I thought was the main theme of the album. It almost sounds... Christian rock-esque. Scarily, distractingly so. This song confused and threw me a bit. I was listening to punk rock, and then all of a sudden it's Switchfoot. Disoriented, I just moved on.
I love "In A Daydream." Well-sung. Great rhythms. Resonated with me. Probably my favourite song, lyrically.
Moving right along, though; "Feel When You Find" is fast and catchy, if not the most meaningful track on the album, and is an interesting, if repetitive song to stick between "In a Daydream" and "Last Goodnight," which is hands-down my most-listened-to song on this album. I'd heard this song done before--I'm not talking about a cover, I just mean that I'm pretty sure that I listened to an almost-identical song when I reviewed Aiden, as with a few other bands--but this is the best I've ever heard it written or sung. Having listened to a lot of emo, I was impressed that this song, which I'd heard done quite a few times, was so compelling. And right after "Last Goodnight" comes the much-lauded single "The Choice," which has the best screaming on the album, and which meshes lyrics from other songs on the album to make a really awesome track that is really representative of Near Miss' style and feeling.
The album ends strong--between the slightly softer-core "In One Place," which is a little sweet and a lot rocking, and the climactic (and pianoed!) "You've Mistaken," which is way reminiscent of Hawthorne Heights, they've wedged the short, fast, angry "We All Bleed."
And... There you have it. Near Miss' pretty damn good new release. Didn't really know what to expect. Didn't come in with any prejudices. So I can say objectively, not having heard any of their other albums, or any praise or shots at Near Miss, that Testing the Ends of What They'll Put Up With is a fine album. Check it out--it's no album of the year, but there are some really wicked good songs on there.
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| TESTING THE ENDS OF WHAT THEY'LL PUT UP WITH
1) Serious Mess
2) Call For Help
3) Now Rectify
4) Falling Out
5) Take It Back
6) In a Daydream
7) Feel When You Find
8) Last Goodnight
<< 9) The Choice >>
10) At One Place
11) We All Bleed
12) You've Mistaken