I'm going to start this review off by saying that 2013 has been the best year to my ears. Music has basically been my religion for the past 10 years, but it has never affected me in such a way that it has this year; there has been too many impressive or life-changing releases coming out.
Save Your Breath, a five-piece pop punk band from South Wales, has always been on my radar since I got into pop punk about four years ago. The band's split with one of my favourite pop punk bands, Fireworks, was my introduction. It wasn't until Vices that I really fell for this quintet, though. Vices wasn't a ground-breaking release, but it was just so catchy that I had trouble pressing the stop button. The Recover EP was released in 2012, and now Save Your Breath is back with an 11-track release titled There Used to Be a Place for Us; though it isn't life changing, it's more than worth taking 35 minutes out of your day to listen to.
The record opens with the previously released "Lessons." Immediately, you can hear the progression of Save Your Breath in every aspect. The vocals are infectiously catchy and the guitar riffs are catchy as well, and there's a bit of aggression (at times) in both. "Whole," the following track, features pounding drums and my personal favourite chorus on the record. The formula – upbeat verses, catchy choruses and I Call Fives-esque riffs – stays pretty much the same until the fifth track, "Skin and Bones."
"Skin and Bones" is an extremely slow song compared to the rest of the material heard on There Used to Be a Place for Us, and it's a nice change of pace. With that being said, it has another huge chorus – like the majority of the songs on the record. Another song that really stood out to me because of how different it sounded was "Airs & Graces." It starts off very slowly with some calming ambience in the guitar, but it really picks up about a minute in – when it transforms into a melodic hardcore/punk banger. I can't help but picture 100 people stage diving during the second half of this song at a show.
While I did thoroughly enjoy the majority of There Used to Be a Place for Us, there were a few things that bugged me. First, "Maps" and "Touchpaper" are very strong tracks; however, considering they were both on the band's previous release, hearing them again in the same shape and form is redundant. Additionally, "There Used to Be a Place for Us" (the closing track) drags on a bit too long and lacks much substance. Another thing that I'd like to see change on future releases is the use of backing vocals. When they're used ("Harrow Road" and "Abandon"), they sound incredible and add more depth and variety to the band's sound.
With every release, Save Your Breath has kicked things up just a notch. As I mentioned, There Used to Be a Place for Us does have a few head-scratching moments, but the bulk of the record is certainly worthy of praise; the aggressive "Airs & Graces," the lyrically strong "The World Is Yours" and "Find a Way" – which sees the band let out their inner-Me Vs Hero – are just a few of my personal favourites. Apart from the closing track dragging on, there wasn't a skipworthy track or moment during my several listens. Be sure to check this album out when it hits the shelves on October 8 (or October 7 in the UK).
Links: Facebook - Pre-order
For Fans Of: Heroes for Hire, I Call Fives, Me Vs Hero