The Boston based pop-punk band A Loss for Words has been floating around the music scene since 1999, first grabbing kids' attention with a mix of hardcore and pop punk. In 2009, the band released The Kids Can’t Lose. After positive reviews A Loss for Words, kept working on its sound. In 2011, No Sanctuary brought us a closer look at the band's pop efforts; and finally, in 2013, we see a full-fledged pop album and it works for these guys.
Upon first listen, I found Before it Caves to be uninspired and almost boring, but I gave it a few more spins; over time, I found myself completely sucked in. Before it Caves is a dream for anyone who enjoys picking albums apart. While the instrumentals can get a bit repetitive and the lyrics are still droning on about the typical pop-punk issues (girls, friends, hating your hometown, etc.), there’s just something about it that keeps the album pumping through your speakers.
A Loss for Words called on help from two of pop punk’s poster boys for help on this album, as Dan “Soupy” Campbell (The Wonder Years) and Jimmy Stadt (Polar Bear Club) are both featured. Campbell appears on "Conquest of Mistakes," which, in my opinion, is one of the strongest songs on the album. I found myself nodding right along the very second Matty Arsenault jumps in over the instrumentals. "Conquest of Mistakes" builds nicely, a constant progress to the climax that features Campbell. I found myself screaming right along with Campbell and Arsenault finishing out the song. If you had a hard time getting through the first song, "Conquest of Mistakes" makes you want to see what this album really has to offer.
Before it Caves has a lot of hits, but it also falls short in a few areas. Like mentioned earlier, the album can come off as boring. The songs start to blur together because there really aren’t any major progressions; however, Arsenault gives us some of the strongest vocals of his career. The sincerity in his voice really makes you feel the songs. All of a sudden I was screaming about boys I didn’t even know I was still in love with.
While Before it Caves may not be popular amongst their old school fans, I think A Loss for Words is opening the door for a new generation of listeners. Similarly, while this isn’t my favoUrite album released this year, songs such as "Eclipse," "No Merit to Envy" and "Conquest of Mistakes" will definitely keep me coming back to it.