I’m a bit late to the party on ANOTHER LOST YEAR. My dear friend Shauna kept telling me I’d like them and I was like, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll check ‘em out soon.” So, I finally plugged in their new record Alien Architect (out now, Mirage M’Hal Records/EMP Label Group) and I have to admit she was right, despite that silly album title. This is a very good rock band, musically, lyrically, and vocally. It’s not too often a band of this type hits that trifecta, but these guys do. Sure, there are several tunes on this disc that the annoying Starbucks-drinking, Uggs-and-scarf-wearing white girls all over America will flock to, but they’re still well-written and bona fide hits tailor-made for the SiriusXM crowd.
I was pleasantly surprised that the album opens with one of THE greatest speeches in the history of scripted television, Will McAvoy berating a college student on HBO’S The Newsroom (R.I.P.). That never fails to get my blood pumping, and that feeling continues as it flows into “Wolves” featuring an atypical guitar line and very memorable hook. “Bastard Sons” boasts a guest appearance from Jose Urquiza of 3 YEARS HOLLOW who also co-produced the album with singer/guitarist Clinton Cunanan. I’m pretty big on them, so anything Urquiza has a hand in usually gets the A&GS stamp of approval!
The arrangement and groove of “Trigger Finger” really struck me right away making it a favorite from jump. I don’t listen to radio, so I’ve no idea if this is a single or not, but it damn well should be. There’s some great work from the rhythm section of Adam Hall (bass) and Nathan Walker (drums) that complements Cunanan and fellow six-stringer Jorge Sotomarino’s playing nicely. Another guaranteed hit is next with quasi-ballad “Best Is Yet to Come.” It’s familiar territory, but there’s a sincerity in it that prevents the song from sounding cookie-cutter, so I was into it. The vocal effect on “Run the Tank Out” takes a great song and makes it even better.
“He Took Beautiful Away” is simply that…beautiful. The strummed guitars give it a sense of longing and pain to go with the dark subject matter. If I wasn’t paying attention I would’ve thought it was a summertime jam, but these are not happy lyrics. As far as actual ballads go “Memories” sounds like something I’ve heard a hundred times before and just wasn’t for me. “We All Die Alone” is a mid-tempo rocker with more great instrumentation and vocals, and at the 2:10 mark it veers slightly before dropping out a bit 20 seconds later. These subtle nuances definitely add to the song’s flavor, making it another winner.
I wasn’t sure about “On and On” when I first heard it, but by the second listen I decided it was a keeper. Closer “Holding On (Letting Go)” benefits from a smooth melody mixed with some gritty, heavy guitars making for a nice finish. All in all ANOTHER LOST YEAR did a very good job with Alien Architect. There were a couple of tracks I wasn’t sold on, but this is still a solid modern rock record that should find its way into many hands before the year is out through airplay and/or word of mouth. And if they are anywhere near as good live as they are on disc, their future looks bright indeed.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Trigger Finger”, “Run the Tank Out”, “Best Is Yet to Come”, “We All Die Alone”, “Wolves”, “Bastard Sons”