First Impressions: Abandon – Control
January 31, 2011Posted by on
Abandon is a band that I haven’t given enough thought about over the course of the last couple of years. Despite having seen them perform live and having picked up a copy of their first label EP, I kind of just let me memory of the band fade and now I am here confessing this not because it wins me any points, but rather as a confession that sometimes I’m just not fair. Reviewers can talk about being un-biased all they want, but it’s a lie. We like what we like and sometimes what we love and what we are bored with is about as wide spread as the difference between red M & M’s and green M & M’s. I mean, they’re the same thing, right, but when I look at them I feel like the green ones are a little more special. It doesn’t make any sense, it just happens. In the pop rock world, Abandon has been the red M & M, as they sound as good as a pop rock band can sound, but sometimes it is the little things that make a band blow up in my mind and a band being an also-ran in my ear’s listening Olympics. With Control coming out in April and me getting a taste of it early on, I figured I’d give it a chance to see what I’ve been putting off.
Control takes no time to let us know that Abandon is a straight up pop rock band with a hint of synthesizing to give an electric sound that declares early in the album that you “can say all the right things, but you’ve got to feel it in your heart”. The second track, “Help”, is rather forgettable among the early candidates of pop songs, but “Live It Out” makes up the difference with the most interesting of the radio friendly songs, followed by a more obvious single type song in “SOS”. “Your Love Goes On” sounds like something from Tenth Avenue North, showing a slight hint of the Contemporary sound, but not far enough to distract from who they are or to go into the boring category.
If I hear one more song titled “Let Go” it will be ten too many. That song title should have been retired after Waking Ashland nailed it back on “Composure”. Having said that, it’s an okay song, I guess. Whatever. “New Years Day” follows with an interestingly simplistic piano pop opening that focuses on the vocals and a celebration of freedom from sins. “Talk To Me” is a little too easy to overlook as anything more than background filler, though if you can pay attention to it like I force myself to it talks about needing direction in life from God, which is pretty much one of the top prayer requests you’ll get in any prayer group, so if you want some lyrics that you can empathize with that is the one. “Push It Away” follows with another upbeat song heavy on the synth and a new perspective on life. “Under Fire” continues the album with a song about dealing with persecution in our daily lives and staying strong in Christ by faith. “Why Does It Take So Long” is a soaring ballad that could be used by someone for their American Idol audition, you know, if that show is still relevant in a year’s time. It is apparent by this time that as much as the first half of the album is a lot more pop, the ending finishes things up with a plethora of slower songs, something not all that uncommon in albums, although there may be a few too many in a row to keep things interesting here. “Known” can really be overlooked, minus the chorus saying “there is now no condemnation” (an obvious Romans 8:1 reference), because it is outdone by the “epic closer” of Hero, my favorite song on the record.
When it comes down to it, bands like Abandon sometimes get ignored because there are a few too many bands just like them. I can point to bands like The Golden State and The Afters as my quickest points of reference to say that if you like those bands, then you’ll probably dig what Abandon is producing here. There’s more positive here than negative and I think there is a pretty solid audience for this stuff, so I guess they’re doing something right, even if it seems a little too easy sometimes.
1. Feel It In Your Heart
3. Live It Out
5. Your Love Goes On
6. Let Go
7. New Years Day
8. Talk To Me
9. Push It Away
10. Under Fire
11. Why Does It Take So Long