Controversy Loves Company
Fun, big sounding rock album full of melody
Joining the likes of Alkaline Trio, Fallout Boy and Spitalfield are windy city (that's Chicago, IL, U.S.A. for those who were wondering) natives The Audition with a bio that claims that they are the “next big thing”. A bold statement sure in this flooded world of music but as we all know, the music speaks for itself regardless of hype. The Audition began life in the suburbs of Chicago when drummer Ryan O'Connor and bassist Joe Lussa joined forces through their love of music and their desire to tour. Several teething line-up changes would result in Seth Johnson taking on guitar duties and vocalist Danny Stevens joining when their original vocalist left as the band were signed to Victory Records. After recording their debut, guitarist Timmy Keplek joined the fold to fill out their sound.
From the moment Dance Halls Turn To Ghost Towns takes off, you know what to expect from The Audition (if you hadn't figured that out already by the mention of some of the peers at the start of this review). The album continues chock full of melody, catchy riffs and pop-punk easy listening goodness with You've Made Us Conscious with its huge sing-a-long chorus before the tempo is dropped a notch or two for It's Too Late. Continuing to clock in around the three minute mark is another dose of memorable choruses in Approach The Bench and the almost Jimmy Eat World sounding The Ultimate Cover Up.
The last half of Controversy Loves Company doesn't offer anything that strays from what The Audition have served up thus far. Even the more mellow beginnings of Don't Be So Hard soon make way for a bit of pace and another catchy chorus that reeks of radio hit. Lawyers is a little more hard hitting initially (by The Audition's standards) as it's driven by a solid guitar rhythm, an approach that is continued with both Rep Your Clique and to a lesser extent La Rivalita. Saving the longest track til last, Smoke And Mirrors clocks in at hefty three minutes and thirty-six seconds as it meanders through a slower dark sounding chorus before unleashing another sing-a-long worthy chorus.
It's always pleasant to hear an album from an artist that you have no prior knowledge of and no expectations of when after giving it repeated listens, you find yourself subconsciously tapping your fingers or your toes in time. The Audition's music and lyrics don't require a lot of attention or processing on the listeners part, and although there will be some that will criticise their originality (or should that be their lack there-of?), the fact is that Controversy Loves Company is a fun pop-punk album that is packed to the rim with good production, big choruses and plenty of parts to get fans of the genre signing along at the top of their lungs. Don't take it too seriously. Instead, take it for what it is and you'll enjoy it all the more!
(Victory Records/Stomp Distribution)