Gold Coast/Brisbane alternative punk band A Somerset Parade released their album Against All Odds on 31st July. We dove into the album to see what it’s all about and learn more about this new-to-us band.
A Somerset Parade formed in 2015, with the solid line-up later established of Daniel Cornish (vocals), Matt Freeman (guitars), Andrew Nolan (guitars), Brad James (bass), and Peter Hart (drums). Against All Odds is the follow up to 2016 EP Bright Young Things.
Diving into Against All Odds, the title track is first, and I honestly just listened and re-listened to this track over and over for quite some time before moving on, due to its ‘wow’ factor. “Against All Odds” defines the word ‘against’ and also seems to define a stance that A Somerset Parade are holding, and foreshadowing onto the album that’s coming.
“Can you hear me now?”
As “Against All Odds” starts, you can almost picture a person with a megaphone, making an emphatic public announcement with a backing of strong rock. The vibe is ‘here we freaking go’ and soon the megaphone is tossed aside for kicking down into heavy town and being more in your face. It’s not even a full minute long and yet is a badass start to the album.
The second track “Ruins of This Empire” takes a slightly lighter approach, while still being a strong track with impressive guitar work. It has more of a searching vibe than the empowered confrontational one that “Against All Odds” hinted at.
“I’ve spent many a sleepless night dispersing star light to common moths
Ever bewitched by the emerald light, this black expanse impossible to cross”
“Ruins of This Empire” feels like an open letter, wondering if resolution will come. There’s frustration as to what has been given out, trying to make the best of a situation which someone seems to have willingly let crumble away to nothing. The bridge is bliss musically and lyrically.
The third track “Closure” feels like classic pop punk as it comes to the surface from a beginning layer of distortion. The grittiness and rawness of unclean vocals give the track much more richness than would be there otherwise, and I craved more of it to support the fire of the topic; a messy relationship ending and the resulting hurt. The shift around 3:02 into the chorus gives me life, as does the close of the track, despite the ‘prettiness’.
“When I see you around I’m always judging what went down”
“Statelines”‘ upbeat vibe and high energy matches its hopefulness, inspiring a ‘let’s go’ feel, and a reassurance of finding freedom with another and moving into something new. There’s a fire of what has been overcome which is supported with vocal intensity and a sick breakdown. I’d love to hear more passion in the clean vocals to reflect the freedom vibe of ‘this is what I’ve been waiting for after all this pain’.
“I’ve been broken, been beaten, my life has hit the ground
Some dreams seem like disasters, but know you won’t bring me down”
“Truth In Lies” has a stronger sense of A Somerset Parade being all-in, going hard at it, which makes it a favourite on the album for me. The track captures the quest of trying to see through a facade and into the truth of the situation, as well as the fury at being lied to and promises being false.
“When all is said and done you know the truth will carry on“
The dive into Breakdown Town and growled/screamed vocals is satisfying and I don’t think it would have been overdoing it to have far more of that heaviness on the track, given the subject matter.
The next track “Jaded” has a confused vibe and layered vocals and harmonies support that, feeling like trying to make sense of a situation that’s been endured. The spoken word section is a stand-out (ie. I love it), as is the gang vocals, creating a sense of strength in this conflict with another and coming out on top. I dig the drums at the close of the track.
“You want to start a war? Well what are you fighting for?”
“Take My Crown” plays with irregular timing as one goes into combat with another. The shifts across the track feel like a challenge for the other to keep pace with and the unclean vocals feel like taunts.
“Tidal Waves” works brilliantly with dual and layered vocals creating an intensity to match the conflictedness of missing a lover yet being enraged by them. The breakdown/bridge/screamfest is sick AF, going headfirst into the experience of revenge and taking back control:
“Let’s tear this place apart and bring it to the ground
We all own this night, don’t let her bring you down
Just like the wreckage that crashed in to the shore
Lured in by sirens, she took it all”
“Raise Your Glass” joins A Somerset Parade’s forces with Mitch Chamberlain (of Satellites). The track is a middle finger salute to the working week and mousewheel existence of ‘adulting’. It’s a catchy quest for freedom instead, and the gang vocals (and sharing vocals with Mitch) adds a sense of mateship in breaking free of the ‘same old’ life.
The acoustic warmth of “Hour Glass” is a pleasant surprise at the tenth track. It’s a beautiful ode via guitar, piano and harmonies, to the one who brought a broken heart back to life, resuscitating it and drawing them to each other. It’s not an easy path forward but something important that will be fought for, regardless.
“And did you know that it would be like this all along when you first found me?”
“Information Age” is starkly different in its heaviness as the next track. It is a call for strength in the face of poisonous words that sting in the world of online engagements. An important message, inspiring with its drum beats and swift maneuvering via guitar.
“With every breath, until it’s known
Repeat these words; ‘I’m not alone’”
“One Way Out” has heaviness by way of guitar riffs, supporting the severity and seriousness of what’s being recognised; emotional and physical abuse in a relationship. The power that shines through when the lyrics turn from questioning the affected woman about her situation, to pointing a finger at the person inflicting the abuse, then supporting the woman to inspire change is so very satisfying.
“Believe in yourself, it takes strength to walk away
And know, that you are not alone”
Second last on the album, the confronting questions of “Still Addicted” ask what we’re doing with our lives. The guys of A Somerset Parade feel that we’re running out of time, and we should have awareness of what kind of legacy we’re leaving and what memories we want to have at the end. The spoken word ending (along with drum insanity) echoes the vibe of the opening track and it’s an awesome close to the track.
“In life we should do what makes us happy,
don’t let fear or failure direct us in our path.”
“Last Word” is fittingly last on the album, by title as well as the fact it’s a farewell. They’re letting go of someone they’ve been loyal to, and feel overlooked by.
“And I’m still leaving you“
Against All Odds kicks off with a statement against hate, poverty and violence, urging to stand tall, but doesn’t seem to follow through with that message. It instead turns to other topics such as interpersonal connections, self-belief, and strength. While still very important messages contained in these solid tracks, I would have loved to see what was present in the title track flow through the album.
A Somerset Parade come to life when they completely let loose and pour their fire into what is being said, and the moments where that happened in Against All Odds were stellarly awesome. I’d love to see/hear more of those on future releases from the guys.
You can stream Against All Odds via Spotify right now, and follow what the band are up to via Facebook.
Impressive musically, interesting song structures, and unique from song to song. Many satisfying 'yes' moments when the guys went hard at it. Meaningful, hopeful, and important messages about current issues.
I kept wanting more more MORE fire and passion without holding back, especially where the song seemed to call for it lyrically. The title track was a mega tease of what could have been!