The Playbook – All I Am Is What You Left Behind (2018)

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This band has a very strong track record of putting out consistently high quality pop punk. On ‘All I Am…’ they have hit a home run.

Big melodies, great choruses, melodic guitars (of course) and slick fast drums that punch and pummel in all the right ways. This is pop-punk like you remember, it feels good, it’s fast and makes you want to get up and dance! Okay..maybye not dance, but punch the air? Yes! Beat on your steering wheel? Yes!

(*disclaimer: you can indeed dance if you want to. I’d prefer a circle pit. Just sayin.)

Think MXPX, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong and you’re getting there.

The album has taken quite some time to arrive and was preceded by several singles that were released online in the lead up. It’s all been a bit of a tease really because with each new slice they shared..I just wanted more!!!! Well ‘All I Am..’ doesn’t disappoint. Like at all. Ever. Keeping up with the established standards, this is killer from start to finish, production is dimed and sounds tight and punchy. The songs are either epic pop-punk anthems or slaying the so-cal 90’s vibe. There’s not a misstep to be found.

I really liked the passage between the power ballad ‘Sleep State’ how it chills out to a brief acoustic interlude/bridge of sorts towards the end with big group vocals and Laura belting out ‘All along/whoa-oh-oh’s’.

Anyway it’s great moment and the band kicks back in with it’s big singalong rock-ending. The following track ‘Regardless’ is a short vocal/acoustic song that runs less than a minute but the way it connects to the following song ‘Reach’ adds so much the impact. I was quite impressed. They’ve composed a 1-2-3 combo that I didn’t expect and had me smiling. It’s excellent.

The album contains 13 songs and while some are short sharp blasts, others are more lengthy and musical. The song writing is top-tier and not one single track is missing anything. It becomes clear by half way through that all the time they have taken to prepare and produce this album has payed off. They should be proud.

Other highlights included ‘Resolutions Like Fireworks’ as a more balanced and mature song that obviously has a much stronger narrative and personal story. The ballad-softer-sadder style of this song shows that The Playbook are entirely capable of stepping aside from their punk strengths to serve the song.

Second track ‘Locked Away’ is a clear and easy winner with its syncopated rhythms and accents, plus that damn hook ‘It’s never gonna be the same’…has made it the most revisited song on the whole record for me.

The strengths of a well oiled rhythm section and balanced dynamics between guitars and Laura’s vocals mean they are never competing and always complimenting each other. The bass and drums are locked in and so tight that the group is supported in each punch, pushed accent and chord shift. It’s powerfully delivered pop punk that deserves to be heard.

It’ll be hard for any pop punk to beat this for 2018.

https://theplaybook.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theplaybookpoppunk/

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