Newest Review: ... building up the chorus. 'What You Get' the albums 2nd single sounds poorly recorded after the sly little intro with an odd mix up with t... more
Deserving More Credit
Shatterproof Is Not A Challenge - Hundred Reasons
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Shatterproof Is Not A Challenge - Hundred Reasons
Advantages: Progressive, Lyrics, Guitars, Catchy
Disadvantages: Short & Similar Songs
Two years prior to Hundred Reasons debut album 'Ideas Above Our Station' the Hampshire quintet came back for more with another offering of original harmonic/melodic rock. Hurried by Columbia Records, 'Shatterproof Is Not A Challenge' was released as soon as all the songs were done and the advertising/marketing campaign was minimal, making its release a quiet one, but still managing to shift a good amount of units. The band has clearly learned a fair bit thanks to the success of IAOS, and raised the bar with even more complex guitar work, group vocal harmonies and showcasing the abilities of the drummer Andy Bews and bassist Andy Gilmour. In theory the album and band would always struggle to match the success of their previous effort but they have tried not to stray too far away from what propelled them to success in the first place.
Album opener 'Savanna' isn't the strongest way to reintroduce themselves, with a generally unhappy - angry song, melody and lyric wise, repeating "Get on your knees for saviors" against the heavy lumbering guitar chords - its track 2, 'Stories With Unhappy Endings' is ironically where the album should have begun, still pretty angry but reminding of the storming guitar riffs and fantastic vocal ability fans fell in love with beforehand. The bass really stands out in this one, rumbling away through the verses and building up the chorus. 'What You Get' the albums 2nd single sounds poorly recorded after the sly little intro with an odd mix up with the 2 guitars rocking back and fourth in dodgey synchronization. However it brings relief to hear an upbeat track with a pleasant verse and definite sing along chorus "So what if you turned back, if talking's a waste of our time. You would leave us only the more upset, cause that's what you get". The albums first single 'The Great Test' is up next, at just under two minutes, its a very brief glimpse of what the band is capable of, perhaps just what is needed to entice people unfamiliar with their work, in a short period of time. However its pretty much a forgettable track in honesty.
"Sing this with me now, try to harmonize this. Sing this with me now, try to understand."
From the very beginning, this track had me nodding in agreement. 'Harmony' is exactly what Hundred Reasons are about and to go with the title, both lead and rhythm guitarist, lead and backing vocals, all harmonize together in an honest, quality song. Lead singer Colin Doran may not have the conventional voice, nor a large range, but the singing always seems to shine through. My personal favourite song acts as the halfway mark of the album in 'Lullaby'. An interesting drum beat comes on against the grain of some guitar feedback, followed by strong upbeat chords synced with an equally jolly, lead guitar riff that dances throughout the entire song. A nice little lyric is chanted a few times "I caught me a whisper, now dance in my hand" - I have no idea what the hell this means but I sang along gleefully despite a lack lustre chorus. The introduction of 'My Sympathy' is a bit annoying due to the repeated strike of a harsh guitar chord, but it somehow turns into a song raising in tempo (relevant as the lyrics mention "don't slow down"), swinging side to side, ballad that is best described as a slow motion period of the album. Its not a bad thing, if anything it just makes it easier to grasp the lyrics and sing away.
Songs gain speed instantly in '80mph', another 2 minute practice session sounding song. The lyrics dont offer much but the guitarists and drummer can show off a little bit, with skill and fluctuating tempos. Similar to IAOS's 'Falter' - 'Still Be Here' is a stand out song, with a ballad-esque rhythm and pace. It is also the most revealing song in terms of lyrics, mentioning Doran's thoughts and memories of his father in quaint fashion "When birthdays came around, I waited for you to be there.. just for once." even the chorus, as content as it may sound, has some really scarring lyrics. Again in familiar circumstances, guitarists Paul Townsend and Larry Hibbitt team up to take on 'Pop' (as Townsend did for IAOS's 'Silver') sticking to what they know - harmonizing. Most of the songs structure is very similar to 'Silver' containing the stop-start rhythm palm muting and melodic riff, all out chorus and even being the tenth track on the list. More thought provoking lyrics show up in 'Truth With Elegance' - one of the heaviest songs - despite what sounds like a shampoo commercial "The fluorescence you wash from you hair, so the cruelty could cling to your pillow".
If any more comparisons can be made from the bands first two albums its in their closers, much like the previous effort 'Avalanche' - 'Makeshift' provides the acoustic and vocal only track (occasionally an organ in the background). Without a doubt one of the 'loveliest' songs I've heard in a while despite only having 2 sentences to sing, the poignent words are first sung with disdain then secondly with vigor, Hibbit providing his ever faithful backing vocals towards the end. A truly heartbreaking song to save for last on what is an all to familiar, yet still absolutely spectacular album. Somehow Hundred reasons would be let go by Columbia Records after this effort and shamefully remain one of the most underrated British bands in recent years.
"Hard to mould the sense, choose to walk your own mile. Hard to mould the sense.. and choose to walk your own."
"Its nice that you noticed what I wore my clothes for.. and you make me happy as its what you're best at.. nurture more."
Simply writing them down doesn't do them justice.
Summary: Ideas Above Our Station: Volume 2