REVIEW: THIS CENTURY – BIOGRAPHY OF HEARTBREAK

 Biography-of-Heartbreak-Artwork

Reviewed by Mark Plummer
From the first chord of opener, Slow Dance Night, something feels un-nervingly familiar and – granted, it’s in a different key – but the lightness and carefree nature of Miley Cyrus‘ Party in the U.S.A. is like a punch in the face.  Breaking away from the deeply pop roots and this opener is not the most emphatic, not in a “it’s a terribly written song” kind of way, more its lack of attention grabbing qualities.  Openers should resemble how a band plans to open a live show, with plenty of kick and movement, take New Found Glory for example, the masters of great openings: “We usually like to play Understatement pretty early on, it really gets the crowd going.” .  Straight away there’s an understanding of how music works, capturing the listeners heart and making them want to delve further than skin deep.From the offset, questions are already running amok, the big one being how do they differ from other bands in the genre they believe they belong in?  They boast an impressive resume of acts they have supported, Good Charlotte and The Maine to name a couple,  but is there anything to suggest that This Century are a group to push past their peers?  Maybe not in this genre.  They differentiate in the way that chalk and cheese do – the cleanliness in the production of the guitars and heavy reliance on those fuzzy synths add a lot of warmth, but take away any edge that would support a claim to the Pop-Punk, Pop/Rock play area.

The abundance of clean-cut production, omitting any rawness in the production automatically gives it a target audience on the higher end of the Billboard 200 with a very boy band feel, think One Direction, Emblem 3 and The Wanted.  This is more than evident in the instrumentation of Love Killer, whilst Bleach Blonde supports the vocal evidence for these boy band claims with heavy reliance on the backing vocals.

Already three tracks in and this album has already summed itself up as a claim to the mainstream pop world.  What these opening three tracks set up, is mirrored time after time in an endless stream of watered down guitars and lifelessly, seemingly processed, drums.  The Bruno Mars like, Run and Hide, is rich in clichéd sentiments that underpin the predictable nature of an album titled Biography of Heartbreak.

Opening line “You are the definition of a shooting star”  gives plenty of indication that the songwriting is not at its strongest and, at times, needs a rethink of how best to address the tenderness of love.  Whilst Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are was quite direct compared to Relient K’ Candlelight, these are two songs that express the same things, but written in a way that doesn’t let off any feelings of crude soppiness.

There’s not much left to say, the first few tracks tell the story, and a hit-by-hit attempt would be a waste of time.  For all you boy band aficionados out there, then pick up this release and bathe in its easy listening and simple melodies, not straining your ears for the beautiful subtlety that is missing. If, to quote Mindless Self Indulgence, if you like your coffee black just like your metal, then This Century will make you cry tears of sadness, so probably best to give it a miss and swiftly move on.

2 out of 5

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