Sunday, June 17, 2007

Amber Pacific – Truth In Sincerity

Band: Amber Pacific
Album: Truth In Sincerity
Release Date: May 22, 2007
Label: Hopeless

“Truth In Sincerity” is Amber Pacific’s second full-length release and third in total if you count their debut EP “Fading Days,” but do they deliver? In some sense yes they do, but unfortunately, in another they fall sadly short. If you’re a big fan of theirs then there is going to be a lot here for you. To come right out and say it, “Truth In Sincerity” is easily their best release to date, but it’s not without its faults. However, many of its faults are the fundamental shortcomings of the band overall.

The first aspect of Amber Pacific that separates the fans from the haters is lead singer Matt Young’s voice. He’s got a very distinct, yet bland voice that funnels listeners into love it and hate it groups. After just one song you’ll be able to determine if you like his voice and if you do then it’s time to progress to the rest of the depth of the record, however, if you fall into the latter category, you might just want to turn off the CD. Young’s voice is prominent throughout the entire disc so if you aren’t a fan it will bring down the whole experience.

So, if Young has passed your vocal litmus test, there’s just about one thing you can expect from “Truth In Sincerity” (besides a cheesy title), and that’s typical power chord fueled emo tinged pop-punk. What Amber Pacific lacks fundamentally is depth. There just isn’t much to their sound; musically, lyrically, or vocally. However, that doesn’t necessarily make for a bad experience.

The disc opener “Rule #76”’s brooding piano driven sound will tell you absolutely nothing about what you’re getting into. It’s the absolute definition of the pointless or unrelated introduction; it doesn’t even execute its transition to “Summer (In B)” very well. What follows, however, is plain old good pop-punk fun. Songs like “You’re The Only One,” “Take Me From This Place,” and “Watching Over Me” seem to be struck from the very same vein as other pop-punk acts like (the original) Good Charlotte or Story of the Year.

The ninth track “We Think We’re Hardcore, Cause Well, We Are” is just about as pointless as it gets. It is 45 wasted seconds of flow ruining guitar sweeps and ominous bells. I suppose its almost a funny jab at hardcore, but it really just derails any continuity of the CD. Speaking of continuity, that’s another aspect that will divide potential fans. Depending on how you look at it, “Truth In Sincerity” is either, very solid and consistent, or straight up monotonous and repetitive. Almost all of the tracks sound similar and there is no clear distinction on the whole.

“Truth In Sincerity” makes for a good car ride and is an excellent summer listen. However, like I’ve no doubt made clear, there are several aspects of this release that will serve as tipping points that will either endear this CD to fans or drive listeners away. It is an improvement from their previous works (with some stupid exceptions like “We’re Hardcore”) and for that I give them some credit. But, in no way do they seem to be striving to evolve from their generic songs about heartache. If you can stand Young’s voice, take it for what it is (basic pop-punk) and there’s a solid chance you’ll enjoy it.

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