It’s always a cool thing when a band progresses a lot between releases. We Still Dream, a pop-punk band from Jacksonville, FL., definitely is a great example of that. Although they’ve always been catchy, they always seem to change their sound for the better. The latest EP, Therapy, really stood out to me. It had gotten me extremely excited for the band’s future releases. A year later, We Still Dream presents listeners with what could be one of the best pop-punk albums in the last few years, Something to Smile About.
One thing is for sure when it comes to We Still Dream, the band has one hell-of-a talented vocalist. Although the vocals play a big part in making this band stand out, the rest of the band also proves themselves with some extremely tight musicianship; the album opener, “Happily Never After,” shows the two off extremely well. “Things You Do” has one of my favorite choruses on the record. The verses of the song are rather melodic and catchy, while the chorus starts with a very aggressive, in-your-face belting vocal. The transitions between the two is extremely smooth. “Back to Then” proves how insanely catchy the band can be. The song is filled with vocal melodies that will get stuck in your head, and an awesome sing-a-long chorus. “Closer Look” is one of the more upbeat songs on Something to Smile About, and some of the riffs remind of some early 2000s punk rock.
“Tendencies” starts a bit darker than the previous songs on the record. Shortly after, a very loud, melodic riff shows itself. There’s a few songs on the record that show off a bit more of an aggressive vocal style, and this is for sure one of them. “Ups and Downs” is another faster track. It’s a nice transition between “Tendencies” and “Sanity (Growing Up)” – which is the leading single. “Sanity (Growing Up)” contains some of my favorite melodies on the entire record, both vocally and instrumentally. “Convince Me” seems to be the ballad of the record. The track contains some beautiful riffs and vocals. “Convince Me” contains a nice build up throughout the song that hits hard at the end.
“So Much Worse” has an amazing message. In a day and age where complaining about stupid little things seems to be a trend, this track is a breath of fresh air. The song contains a lyric that sums up the message pretty well: “Think twice about your life, and for once, just focus on the good times.” The subject of “things could be worse” is often played out – and approached in a cheesy manner – but this is not the case with “So Much Worse”. The next song is a change of pace for the record. “Turnaround” has a bit more of an alternative or rock sound to it. Hearing this song left me realizing how different most of these songs are from one another, yet they flow so nicely together. “Better Than This” brings those super catchy hooks back to the table that most people familiar with We Still Dream know and love, and “Dissipate” closes out the record in a very loud, melodic way. It’s a perfect farewell from Something to Smile About.
We Still Dream is a band that is going to continue to grow and progress with each release, and they’ve made that clear. I expected this full length to be good, but it ended up blowing any expectations I had out of the water. I can see Something to Smile About being one of those timeless pop-punk records for a lot of kids. I can also see this record providing a lot of new fans for the band. In a genre full of bouncy riffs, and dudes yelling about how much they hate their ex-girlfriend, Something to Smile About is super refreshing. Be sure to stream it on Anchor Eighty Four’s Bandcamp and pick up a physical copy too (links below). Support a great band that’s not trying to fit a certain mold.
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For Fans Of: Fireworks, With the Punches, I Call Fives