It’s official: after a month’s additional delay, A Day To Remember are back with their sixth full length record. Promotion for Bad Vibrations begun with the ultra aggressive Paranoia, which let us know that the anthemic crowd-pleasers and more radio friendly tracks of Common Courtesy were being left behind. As soon as I heard this track, I knew I was going to love the record: I still get goosebumps at the breakdown and I’ve listened to the song hundreds of times! You can see the music video for their lead single here:
This single was followed by the album’s opening track, Bad Vibrations, which made it obvious that A Day To Remember took inspiration from their earlier hardcore roots on this latest record. Immediately the album’s tone is set as aggressive, punchy, and reflective of the band’s struggles: the reflective tone is most obvious during Naivety, a strong punk-rock offering in which vocalist Jeremy McKinnon sings about how his outlook on life has changed as he’s grown older. I think it’s important to note that the band haven’t taken a step backwards with this record – their post-hardcore roots are given a 2016 makeover, with polished production and additional electronic elements to add an extra punch.
Unlike Common Courtesy, A Day To Remember haven’t included many quieter emotional ballads or acoustic tracks in Bad Vibrations. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of emotion packed into their latest record, but the overall tone falls more towards the anger/frustration end of the spectrum, rather than dealing with sadness, grief or heartbreak. A few tracks, such as Justified, allude to being a quieter track, but the introduction and bridges are soon swallowed up by powerful chugging guitars and harsh vocals. The only true ballad on the record is Forgive And Forget, which features gorgeous strings that add to the orchestral feel of the booming, echoey drums.
Bad Vibrations contains a number of changes of pace and tempo across the record, and even within tracks, to prevent the album from melding into one solid mass. We Got This is an inspirational pop-punk number akin to All I Want or Right Back At It Again, slap bang in the middle of the record to change the tone and keep things fresh. As well as We Got This, I can see Turn Off The Radio becoming a fan favourite.
I can conclude this review very simply: I absolutely love this record. A Day To Remember have outdone themselves, and I think it will be very hard to top Bad Vibrations on my list of favourite releases of 2016. I definitely don’t aim to be a rabid fangirl, and I listened to this record with my ever critical ear, but I honestly didn’t hear anything worth critiquing…unless you were hoping for a lot of friendly poppier tracks, in which case, you’ll be disappointed. A Day To Remember are a band in their prime, and this record makes me wonder what additional musical masterpieces they’ll be capable of in future.
Highlights: Bad Vibrations, Paranoia, Exposed, Reassemble, Negative Space