I Am the Avalanche hasn’t released one record that has disappointed fans since the band formed. The New York punk rock band has had a pretty loyal fan base since the beginning, driven by some fans of The Movielife that made the transition over to I Am the Avalanche with Vinnie Caruana. The band’s first record was pretty ambitious and it definitely consisted of a lot of different sounds. The second effort, Avalanche United, felt a bit more traditional. It just seemed to be the perfect blend of catchy hooks and a punk rock attitude. I was very interest to find out which direction I Am the Avalanche would take with its third full length, Wolverines.
The record opens extremely strong with “Two Runaways.” Immediately, I am reminded of Avalanche United, but this song felt like it was on a much larger scale. The song is driven by some soaring melodies and a chorus that will get stuck in your head right away. “177” follows “Two Runaways” and doesn’t let up at all, and I noticed how smooth the transitions are on this record. By track two, it also becomes very clear that Caruana’s vocals are stronger than ever on Wolverines. Next up is “The Shape I’m In,” one of the catchiest songs this band has ever written. The chorus on this track is just absolutely insane. Catchy is probably an understatement; it’s basically a punk rock anthem. “Young Kerouacs” keeps the smooth-flowing record on track with some aggressive but soothing melodies. Although “The Shape I’m In” is probably the catchiest song on the record overall, “Young Kerouacs” probably takes the cake for the catchiest chorus.
The title track, “Wolverines,” is the shortest song on the record and the shortest song the band has ever released. Don’t be fooled by the length, though, as this song hits like an outro and creates one gigantic sing-along opportunity by the end. “Anna Lee” jumps right back on the catchy chorus train. To me, the highlight of this song is the verses; it definitely feels like one of those story-telling I Am the Avalanche tracks. Overall, the song feels very nostalgic, and I can for sure see this track becoming a classic for the fans. “Save Your Name” almost gave me a Self-Titled vibe. It’s a very fun, melodic punk rock song.
Track seven is “Where Were You?” Where do I even begin with this song? I guess you could say it’s I Am the Avalanche’s take on a ballad. The song starts and continues to build up until the first chorus hits – giving you goosebumps the entire time. As soon as the chorus started and Caruana belted, “Where were you when the lights went out?”, I immediately caught myself humming along. I’ve always found it easy to learn this band’s lyrics and melodies, which is definitely not a bad thing since they never get old. “Where Were You?” makes for a pretty difficult song to follow up, but “My Lion Heart” gets by just fine. I feel the song holds a pretty good representation of what Wolverines is – a mature, instant classic of an I Am the Avalanche record. “One Last Time” feels like a classic I Am the Avalanche album closer. The vocals actually feel a bit more mellow on this song, along with the guitar work. It's definitely an interesting last song.
Overall, Wolverines is just as good as the prior I Am the Avalanche releases. I love that the band never really makes a song that completely puts the others on the record in the shadows. It always feels like the band puts 110% into each and every song on the record. The best way to describe Wolverines would be as a very mature I Am the Avalanche release that, at the same time, is the most fun. There’s not one track on the record that I couldn’t see being thrown into the band’s live set – which makes me very excited for future tours. Wolverines is going to be the reason I Am the Avalanche has the best year of their career in 2014.