Best of 2016 Playlist

June 26, 2015

Our Last Night - "Younger Dreams" Review

About two years ago I stumbled across the song "Liberate Me" by Our Last Night. The band had just released their their "Oak Island EP", and I loved the aforementioned single from "Age of Ignorance"so I decided to give the EP a listen. I was floored by what I heard, and the fact that I hadn't already gotten into this band. Their new album, "Younger Dreams", was released on June 16. After a string of successful covers (i.e "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry and "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift), this full length was greatness in the making. This album rides the wave the band started when they made the bold decision to go independent. To buy the album on iTunes follow this (link). 

This band was formed in 2004. They recorded their first EP when lead vocalist Trevor Wentworth was only twelve. Then a year later they released their first album, "Building Cities From Scratch". Their first official album, "The Ghosts Among Us" was released through Epitaph Records in 2008. Those initial albums were heavy metalcore works. In recent years the band has begun to lighten their sound. While the shift is not as drastically as former EptRec label mate Bring Me The Horizon has, the divide between the first three albums, their most recent EP and this release is very evident. So, after ten years in the music industry, they've put out "Younger Dreams". And all that time and effort have paid off because this is the best full length effort from the band so far. 

Growing up has done the boys in Our Last Night a lot of good. Their previous album, "Age of Ignorance", was met with poor reception, which I have to agree with. But in this album, the band has done away with the angsty, angry metal songs (though those heavier influences are still obvious in their songs). Their covers of recent chart topping pop songs have had their influences on this album. Most evident in the catchy choruses. Mixing in more pop and alternative rock influences, the band has come into their own. The lyrics aren't anything short of perfect for the album. This is the first really cohesive full length from the band since their early metalcore works. 

The first two singles are perfect releases. They set the tone for the album, and give the listener a general idea of what to expect. "Home" is an anthemic number that doesn't stray far from the work the band did on their 2013 EP. The major difference between the EP and the album is the production level. The songs are mixed to perfection, and have this particular arena rock vibe to them that suits the band to a T. 

One of the standouts is track 7, "Living Now". The song opens with some minimal synths, and then clean guitars. Cue the drums, and before you know it the song is in full swing. You get a little of everything with this number. The melodic verses performed by both Trevor and Matt, a very pop influenced chorus, and gruff screams make one killer song. Matt and Woody have fine tuned their guitar and bass work, and have produced something that isn't overloaded with breakdowns, or chugs like in the past. Molloy drives his drums home with as much force as he can, keeping the rhythm going strong. Which is what drives the chorus, aside from Matt's vocals.  

As I said, there is a strong mainstream rock presence in this album. But don't let that turn you off. Because unlike some other bands who have given up their signature sound in favor of something more accessible, OLN haven't sacrificed anything. The sound they started with the "Oak Island EP" continues stronger than ever. Since the band's inception, their sound has ventured into a more post-hardcore, alternative rock oriented genre rather than a more technical metalcore. And that in itself makes their music more accessible, but without losing the touch that fans have come to love. 

The weakest track is album closer, "Barricades", which incorporates heavy electronics in the last minute of the song. The auto-tune takes something away from the song, and doesn't do anything positive for Matt's vocals. Other than that, it's a great number. An energetic piece that mirrors the high voltage opener. 

"Forgotten Souls" is a perfect example of everything that's right with the band's experimenting with some other sounds. The track's main rhythm is provided via synths. A very R&B esc vibe, this is a soft tune that still maintains OLN's rock sound, and their signature lyrics. Trevor and Matt provide sweet, smooth vocals, similar to what the performances they gave for their acoustic version of Oak Island. A sure crowd pleaser, I highly recommend this particular track for fans of recent Sleeping with Sirens, and Pierce the Veil's softer music. 

Summary - 
This eleven song album packs a punch, and proves that this band is out conquer their crowded field. Years of experience have paid off, and the band can only get better from here. Recommended for fans of The Color Morale, Pierce the Veil, newer We Came as Romans and SECRETS. Pop touches here and there make this a very accessible post hardcore album. One aspect I love about the album has to be the fact that this is an independent release from the band (just as the "Oak Island EP" had been). No interference from record labels, no producers forcing their style on the band, just OLN and their ideas. And it's clear these guys know what they're doing. 

Favorite Tracks -

"Road To the Throne", and album opener "Prisoners" are close seconds, but "Living Now" takes the cake. 

Rating -