At the Skylines - The Secrets to Life (2012)

During the last few years, metalcore and post-hardcore have become saturated with bands that emphasize their entertainment factor over complexity and technicality. Bands like I See Stars, Attack Attack!, Asking Alexandria, and Woe, is Me are all household names. The popularity of these bands and others like them has skyrocketed as more and more people are attracted to their "fun" sound. At the Skylines, a six-piece band from Huntington Beach, California, is an up-and-coming group in the blossoming post-hardcore scene.

At the Skylines sure has had an impressive start to the year. They're currently wrapping up a North American tour with genre heavyweights Enter Shikari and letlive. and their debut album, The Secrets to Life, was just released via Roadrunner Records. Like all of the bands I mentioned previously, At the Skylines puts more emphasis on being entertaining than being original. All of the elements needed to make this album "fun" are in place: synth parts, clean vocals, upbeat song structures, and lighthearted lyrics. For the most part, At the Skylines succeeds in being a fun band to listen to. They may not be incredibly original, but there are very few boring moments on The Secrets to Life.

Unlike some of their contemporaries, At the Skylines largely manages to avoid being incredibly "girly." Bands that employ auto-tune and breakdowns laced with heavy electronic elements, such as I See Stars and Abandon All Ships, are bands that I could never, in good conscience, listen to in public without feeling like I was seriously violating my gender role. While At the Skylines does employ electronic elements, they are not overbearing. Instead of using auto-tune, the band opts for an R&B style approach to their clean vocals, which works in their favor. The screams are also done well and compliment the cleans nicely.

The guitar and drum parts aren't really anything out of the ordinary. The band is competent enough to avoid sounding incredibly sloppy, but The Secrets to Life doesn't necessarily showcase any mind-blowing talent or technicality. The bass is basically inaudible, which, I suppose, is to be expected from bands that strive to emphasize their entertainment value. While being more technical would certainly not hurt At the Skylines, it also probably is not necessary.

The Secrets to Life, At the Skylines's debut album, is worth your time if you're simply looking for something fun to listen to. If you hate bands like Attack Attack!, I See Stars, and everything they stand for, however, you may want to look elsewhere.

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By Mike O'Hara ~ Me Gusta Reviews



  1. I see stars's newer album Digital Renegade has some at least half decent material. I don't think it's very fair to compare them to abadon all ships as all they do is play very generic post hardcore and worst of all they auto tune lol. Anyway this was a fair review of the album, it really isn't anything super groundbreaking but it's a decent showing.

  2. I enjoyed bits of Digital Renegade, to be honest. I don't necessarily think At the Skylines sounds a lot like Abandon All Ships, I simply used the latter as a point of comparison because both bands are in the same vein in terms of how they emphasize an entertainment value over any degree of outstanding musicianship. Thanks for reading!

  3. I see, fair enough. The only thing really outstanding, in my opinion, is the clean vocals. Otherwise you're right it is pretty consistant with other bands of that genre, and np for reading. :)

  4. i like auto tune vocals. i see stars and abandon all ships go hard as fuck. love this album too. love this up an coming fun sound.