Against the Current – In Our Bones Review
Against the Current’s In Our Bones is the debut album from the Poughkeepsie, NY pop-rock trio. The band have previously released two EPs and gained a lot of exposure through their Youtube videos. The title track from the 2014 Gravity EP garnered 12 million views and they tend to release a high proportion of videos from each release. Their charismatic and stunning frontwoman Chrissy Costanza is no small part of their appeal. There’s been a lot of buzz generated from their EP releases, so does the young band’s first foray into the longer format match the hype?
Extensive early track releases
The band released six tracks out of the twelve track album prior to release, along with a video clip. Brighter, a track from the Gravity EP, is also included here. So now that the album is finally out, a lot of the tracks already seem old. It’s a bit of a shame. That said, the album does feature a lot of new ground from Against the Current. Their earlier material could be considered pop-punk, but In Our Bones is definitively a pop record. Even the rockers could really only be considered pop-rock, with no punk the equation. There’s also a greater emphasis on synths and electronic elements, and less focus on guitars and fast-paced drums. When the band signed to Fueled by Ramen and became label-mates with Paramore, the comparisons came thick and fast. If Against the Current wanted to differentiate themselves from the biggest female-fronted band in rock, then they’ve definitely done it with In Our Bones.
Wasteland single shines
The finest moment on the record is undeniably Wasteland. It’s a dark electronic pop song that ruminates on the trappings of substance abuse. Against the Current have never issued anything like it before, and it really shows the band’s ability to mature and develop as songwriters. It brings to mind underground electronic rock/pop bands like PVRIS and CHVRCHES. Chrissy’s tortured vocals lead the track over a flawless synth-rock attack from the band. It’s easily one of the best tracks of 2016.
The album is very much a vehicle for Chrissy’s vocals and lyrics. The instrumentation is subtle and understated. It’s clear the band made a decision to hang back and play for the song. Unlike a lot of pop music, the musicians still retain a distinct style and they inject a lot of personality into the music.
Chrissy heads in new direction with lyrics
The band have done a huge amount of shows across North America, Asia and Europe in support of the Gravity EP. It’s clear that Chrissy’s writing has changed to reflect that experience. It seems the lyrics are designed to more anthemic and easy for crowds to sing back at her. It works for some tracks, for example the cries of “You can’t keep us down forever!” in Running With The Wild Things. However at times, ie Forget Me Now, it can feel like the band is trying too hard to be accessible and as a result the material sounds generic.
Running With The Wild Things, the first song on the album to get a video clip, is one of the best tracks on In Our Bones. The track is led by Will Ferri’s high tempo drum attack and is one of the rockier moments on the record. Chrissy alternates croons with aggressive shouts and you can’t help but sing along. The album’s title track is at the other end of the dynamic spectrum, but it’s also one of the highlights. The ballad is carried by catchy acoustic guitars provided by Dan Gow and Chrissy’s beautiful harmonised vocals. Her falsetto is just gorgeous. It really shows the band’s talents that both the ballads and the rockers are equally impressive.
Against the Current offer strong songs on In Our Bones
Some of the strongest songs ever produced by Against the Current are featured on In Our Bones, and there’s no shortage of great tracks. Chrissy has matured as a vocalist and songwriter. There are memorable lines all over the album. Will and Dan have also broke a lot of new territory on the instrumental side of things. At times the album feels more like a compilation of singles rather than a cohesive musical statement. With a lot of their fanbase accessing the songs on Youtube and streaming services, perhaps that’s what the band were going for. Personally I find it a little disappointing as their previous EPs did feel more cohesive. Overall, In Our Bones succeeds as a selection of songs but not necessarily as an album that will inspire repeat listens from end to end.