The Deal: After releasing its debut album, This Could Be A Possibility, in '05, the Philly-based power pop-punk quintet has returned its with sophomore album.
The Good: During the band's withdrawal from the music scene, it's obvious it did one big thing – grow. The story behind the album must be told, but even if it wasn't you'd hear a battle of suffering and a kind of "light at the end of the tunnel" positivism. After vocalist Shane Henderson's girlfriend died in a car accident, he took time off and then his pain led to his muse. The songs consist of fast ditties with lots of playful pop-ups, but more importantly is the album's theme and lyrical backdrop. "All At Once" is laden with swift guitar rhythms and lyrics that reflect how hard it is to have a relationship and find the time to do other things. Other tracks like "The Good Life," "Better Be Prepared" and "Carry On" reveal Henderson's loss, but without the moaning and groaning. Tracks that stand out are "Holiday," with its parade of drum beats, rosy guitar jangles and the "We all need a reason to believe" chants; "Where Did You Go?" which features an impressive instrumental ending; and the slightly slower rocking, suburbia dreaming vibe, "The Good Life."
The Bad: Unless you're a fan of this new pop-punk scene, you won't like this album too much. Valencia would fit in perfectly on the Warped Tour. A lot of the tracks on the album have the same feel and a few times I caught myself asking, "Didn't I just hear this song?"
The Verdict: The band is still young, but they are doing the pop-punk scene some justice. Give the CD a few listens, jam to the vibes, but pay attention to the lyrics, because that's where the gem of the album lies. Valencia will play Tremont Music Hall on Aug. 28.