With their new album Drop Out of Life, This Time Next Year are poised to break it into the big-time of the pop-punk world.
The Walnut Creek, California-based band’s second album was released today on Equal Vision Records, and it’s one of the more impressive albums of the genre to be released this year.
A natural progression from 2009’s Road Maps & Heart Attacks, Drop Out of Life ramps up everything: the production, the musicianship, vocalist Pete Dowdall’s engaging presence, and the riffs. If you like catchy, high-energy pop punk with choruses that will be stuck in your head for weeks, this album is for you.
Part of the album’s quality is due to the production by Chad Gilbert, guitarist of pop-punk pioneers New Found Glory (who have an album of their own, Radiosurgery, due out next week). He really brought out the best in TTNY’s abilities, and it shines on each and every track.
Album opener Drop Out of Life has an anthemic, call-and-response chorus, setting the tone for the rest of the record. Better Half has an NFG-inspired lead guitar riff by Dennis Cohen and Brad Wiseman that leads into Dowdall’s refrain of I never want to be something/If that means I’m nothing to you, while a pogo-ing beat delivered by bassist Travis Pacheco and drummer James Jalili gives the song a relentless energy that continues the buzz laid out by the opening track.
This is one of those rare pop-punk albums without much in terms of filler – each song pulls you in with its combination of crunchy riffs, rich melodies and memorable moments.
Last Call, with its sweeping guitar harmonies and Green Day-ish riffs in the verse accentuate Gilbert’s production, while the backing vocals give it an added level of catchiness that makes it hard to ignore.
Songs like Modern Day Love Story (with Dowdalls lamenting a failed relationship while driving riffs pepper the background), Spoontonic (one of the album’s standout tracks, due to its thick, rich melodies and irresistible refrain of In the middle of the night/It’s not that easy/In the middle of the night/I am alone), Matchbook (and its great use of oh-oh-oh-ohs), and My Side of Town (another of the album’s strongest tracks) help the album never lose momentum. Get It, Got It, Good, Note, and This Is an Airport Train bring things to a fitting end, with the last track tempering the energy slightly before wrapping up with repeating group vocals and a simple drum beat.
It’s redundant to champion each song for its melody, riffs and energy, but that’s what Drop Out of Life has going for it: EVERY song seems meticulously planned out and primed for the live show. Every blueprint laid out on Road Maps & Heart Attacks was improved upon with this new record, and while This Time Next Year don’t quite have their own immediately identifiable “signature sound” yet, they’re well on their way to forging their place in the top-tier of present-day pop punk.
In short, Drop Out of Life is a solid record by a talented up-and-coming pop-punk band that have shown some promising growth from their debut album.
You can catch This Time Next Year as part of the Pop Punk’s Not Dead! Tour alongside New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, The Wonder Years, and Man Overboard at House of Blues Sunset strip on Friday, October 7th . View ticket information here.