Best of 2016 Playlist

October 29, 2016

I Prevail - "Lifelines" Review

It's tough being caught in the shadow of a cover. Especially a Taylor Swift cover. But I Prevail have worked long and hard to make a name for themselves outside the realm of "cover band". Though it's safe to say that cover is always going to be looming over them as their big break.

To buy the band's album on iTunes please click this (link).

When you go into this album, be prepared for highs and lows. This record is the end result of years of practicing, and trying to shake off (pun intended) all connections to I Prevail's cover of "Blank Space". It's created a negative image for a band that isn't nearly as bad as some may lead you to believe. 

Their strengths lie in their understanding of how to write hooks and riffs that stay in your head all day. Strongest on tracks like singles, "Scars" and "Stuck in Your Head", where the band use all their tricks to give us two hits. The band relies on pop punk and rock more than other "core" outlets do. It gives their music a broader crossover range, and appeals to more than just you "mosh-pit" kids. The record isn't as black and white as you might think. There are plenty of stereotypical hardcore moments, screaming with strong breakdowns, and then straight to sing-along vocals, but they're evened out with the moments of bouncier pop punk and mellower, almost ballad like melodies. It's great seeing a group that isn't constricted to genres. 

I Prevail, in that sense, feels like a pale copy of A Day to Remember. Even the artwork for their two albums, "Heart vs Mind" and "Lifelines", were designed by the same man behind ADTR's "Homesick". Eric Vanlerberghe's (that's a mouthful) unclean vocals ground the band in the heavy music genres. Between his screams, the band's crushing breakdowns and their bouncy hooks they really do seem like an up-in-coming version of A Day to Remember. 

"Come and Get It" is a particularly intense track, that pulls from the band's heavy side. An almost vengeful track that really banks on the "heavy/pop punk" play off, it's a standout on this rough around the edges album. "Chaos" is another track that really hits home hard, and heavy. It's arguable one of the heaviest, if not THE heaviest. It's a melodic hardcore band's take on modern metalcore. It has its ups and downs, all in all just a fun track to listen to.

The one place the band really fall down is in the lyrics. The chorus of "Always Dead" is a real killer, and not in a good way. "If I could bring you back to life, I would kill you again." Oh god where to even start with that line. Sure the band's name is "I Prevail" for a reason, but the lyrics get so generic at times it's cringe worthy. And their stabs at doing ballads are complete flops. They do have moments when you might be like, "Oh this is pretty good", and then it's just a cheese fest of cliches and stereotypical crescendos. 

And as I Prevail dance all over the map, trying out new things and returning to the same old-same old, there's a lack of cohesiveness on this debut that gives this more of an "unfinished demo" vibe. Like the band couldn't decide what direction to go in, so they just threw everything onto one CD. Experimenting is great, but as with similar efforts (Sleeping with Sirens, Tonight Alive and All Time Low), sometimes too much is simply too much. Scale it back, dial it down, and focus on perfecting what you're known for. 

Summary -
Rough around the edges, certainly not perfect, but I Prevail are off to the right start. Things can only get better form here, assuming the band can learn from their mistakes. Because the one word to describe this record is inconsistent. The band have moments of genius and then moments of "face down in the dirt". Again, we're hoping the band can learn and improve for album 2, because they show so much promise. 
This album comes recommended for fans of Sleeping with Sirens, The Wonder Years, and some A Day to Remember fans. 

Recommended Tracks
"Scars", "Come and Get It", and "Stuck in Your Head" are particular favorites. 

Rating - 7/10