ALBUM REVIEW: ‘The Other Side’ - Tonight Alive
Tonight Alive - The Other Side
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Label: Fearless Records
Reviewer: Michael Crawford
You’re probably expecting this review to open up with an oh-so-predictable comparison to a particular female-fronted band. I’ll spare you. While the similarities between Tonight Alive (Sydney, Australia) and Paramore are certainly there, it’d be best to curb any preconceptions you may have before listening to “The Other Side”. Singer Jenna McDougall and the rest of the band have churned out twelve inviting tracks that, generally, keep you hooked for the whole 37-ish minutes. While it’d be fair to stamp Tonight Alive as pop rock, there’s still a clear-cut punk edge to their sound that raises them above their contemporaries.
“The Ocean” wastes no time grabbing your attention with a fervent performance from McDougall; she really holds it down the entire record. The imagery of an ocean lying inside of oneself, while basic, doesn’t come off forced or contrived. All of these songs are fun and pretty convincing. “Don’t Wish” doesn’t capture the same intensity as the opener, but is entertaining enough to keep your finger off of the skip button. Around here you’ll start to notice the band’s tendency to seesaw between heavy and catchy, and this relationship is fully on display with “Lonely Girl”. The caustic “so go ahead and cry, it’s just like you” will surely be a fan favorite along with the “woah-ohs” that appear in each chorus.
“Hell and Back” and “The Other Side” brings things to a sadder stage, both songs heavy in subject matter and lyrics. The album’s title track is a personal account of regret, and only coming to such realizations after it’s already too late. “The Fire” is debatably the strongest song on TOS, and the post-hardcore, Senses Fail-esque elements further demonstrate Tonight Alive’s surprising versatility. “Complexes” and “Come Home” maintains the album’s themes of self-reflection and internal turmoil (“holding on like glue, ‘cause the only thing I need is you”).
As the album draws to a close, it’s hard to identify any faults as every track is packed to the brim with emotion and precise playing. The closer, “You Don’t Know Me Anything” starts off as an absorbing ballad and it’s here where McDougall is at her peak vocally. The ambient first half flows well into a compelling finish, and the repeated “You don’t owe me anything” will stick with you. While being called “radio-friendly” usually has negative connotations along with it, “The Other Side” is downright relatable and accessible at the same time. Tonight Alive are positioning themselves to achieve even more success, and finally separate themselves from being just another pop rock band in a scene full of stage-diving and bro chants.
Reviewer Score: A-
You can also stream the full album HERE.