Issues ‘Beautiful Oblivion’ Album Review

Issues are set to release their album ‘Beautiful Oblivion’ on 4th October via. Rise records; pre order it here and continue reading to see what I thought of it.

Tracklist:

1. Here’s To you
2. Drink About It
3. Find Forever
4. Tapping Out
5. Without You
6. Rain
7. Downfall
8. Second Best
9. Get It Right
10. Flexin’
11. No Problem (Keep It Alive)
12. Your Sake
13. Beautiful Oblivion

REVIEW

1. Here’s To You

The first track of the album starts off rather slow and mellow, as if easing people into the album instead of throwing it at them straight away. However, the track does slowly build and morph into the sound I have come to recognise as Issues’ signature sound. The very blunt guitar rhythm and hard-hitting drums are the iconic styles that you will find in most of their most well known songs, so its a welcome addition to this song. Tyler Carter’s distinct vocals carry you through the heavy-yet mellow track, along with the addition of a second clean vocalist to offer up a surprising change to the standard clean vs. Rough singer styles that Issues’ songs usually encompass.

2. Drink About It

With this song being a single on the album, it has been released well in advance, with an accompanying music video, therefore I was already very familiar to this song prior to writing this album review. Going into the album, I already had this song pinned as a firm favourite, with it being heavily featured on my playlists over the last month. For me, this song is definitely a quintessential Issues song, whilst also offering a newer, fresher narrative. With a couple lineup changes and replacements, it is obvious that their sound would change, however this song proves that they are sticking to their guns producing heavy ballads that you can both scream your lungs out to, dance about to, but also open up a pretty decent pit to as well. Carter’s vocals are extremely strong in this track, juxtaposing the heavier instruments to overall have a hard-hitting yet still easily listenable song to put on any playlists.

3. Find Forever

The opening riff, thats all I have to say. That opening section is such a catchy and groovy riff that I dare say no one can resist but dance a little to. Even when the other instruments kick in, that jazzy little riff is heavily featured throughout the rest of the song and, in my opinion, is the backbone of the track. With lyrics mentioning a chapel, it comes to no surprise that a choir of some sorts is featured within a section of the song, complimenting Tyler’s vocals flawlessly and highlighting that saxophone solo perfectly. Again, this song is very easy to listen to and is quite an unexpected hit on the album.

4. Tapping Out

Tapping out is the first song I heard off of this album, with it also being released as a single with a pretty crazy music video accompanying it. As well as Drink About It, this song has been on repeat a lot for me since it’s release. However, Contrary to the aforementioned single, this track is significantly heavier, as we finally get to hear what AJ sounds like on his own instead of just supporting ex-vocalist Michael Bohn. With issues choosing to continue as a four-piece instead of pulling in a new rough-vocalist, they are able to continue to provide their unique sound with smaller changes than bringing in a new vocalist would. Even with the rough vocals, this song is still a very catchy and dance-able tune due to the superb musicality throughout the track. After initially hearing this track I was so excited to hear the rest of the album and I was certainly right to be so.

5. Without You

This track is another example of a very pop-y and catchy opening with Tyler’s soulful vocals being shown off perfectly. When Issues claim to be influenced by dance and R&B music,this song is one of those that shows off that influence perfectly, twisting the heavier guitar and drum rhythms with extensive keyboard work, a strong bassline and light vocals to create an extremely well-done track. Though my one pointer I have for this song is that it seems too short, it ends abruptly with no riff or unique note, it just seems to stop; it would have been better to have a catchy riff or final vocal run to end it off better to me.

6. Rain

I will probably say it a million times in this album but the guitar and baselines are so incredibly catchy and jazzy, you cant help but just move your shoulder’s a lil. The lyrics are repetitive so you’ll definitely know them within the first listen. This song features two successive vocal highlights, with the instruments dropping out to leave Carter’s soft vocals before they then switch to belting tones- resulting in the other instruments kicking in again. Whilst this song is catchy and easy to listen to, I just don’t think there is anything special about it and at 2:50 it’s incredible short, songs that short need to be punchy and memorable and this one unfortunately doesn’t doo that for me, it is still a good track, just not one I would reach for often.

7. Downfall

Kicking in with heavy guitar and drum riffs from the offset, this track starts off promising, hinting that we might get a track reminiscing of old Issues hits, however they quickly dissipate when Tyler starts to sing. Luckily though, all is not lost,as the instruments to build an drop throughout the song, giving a taste of the heavier notes whilst still overall being rock-ballad style track. About half the way through there is a small instrumental breakdown where I can imagine the crowd having a pretty good pit going, but not crazy enough to warrant a wall of death. At the end we get a teaser of AJ’s vocals, and in my opinion we need more, it wasn’t enough just pulling him in at the end, he needed his own verse.

8. Second Best

Much like the prior track, ‘Second Best’ starts off promising with heavy instrumentals before subsiding for the vocals again, however this time they rise again much quicker and remain pretty consistent throughout the full length of the track,a rarity on this album so far. This track seems rather angst-ridden with the style of Tyler’s vocals changing to almost-screaming at certain points before AJ finally get’s his section of vocals on the track to solidify the angsty feel. Once again though, it feels as if they are teasing us with the rough vocals, only giving one or two lines per song and it personally isn’t enough; either give me a full verse or none at all. Hopefully the addition of /some/ rough vocals, gives them the avenue to experiment with adding in more when it comes to performing the track live.

9. Get It Right

This song had been and gone before I had even realised, which I’m not sure if it is a good or bad thing that happened. It just didn’t stand out, not for bad reasons but then also not for good reasons. It’s an okay track, but the vocal style and instrumental style is like many other we’ve heard before. There wasn’t much of a build or drop, it was just rather flat. Hopefully they could jazz it up live and make it more interesting but to be honest it feels like a filler track to me.

10. Flexin’

This song is such a wildcard on the album,when I first listened to it I was completely thrown for a loop. But you know what, that’s what it’s meant to be. This song feels like a huge ‘fuck you’ to everyone complaining they’ve gone too pop or too camp. They obviously do what they want and don’t care what anyone thinks and I for one, am loving it, this song is such a catchy bop and I can see it being added to a plethora of different playlists with it’s genre-blending style. Of course, I love what Issues used to sound like, but I have a rather eclectic music taste and I could totally get used to this sound if they decided to pursue it more. The dirty bassline and sassy vocals are truly a welcome change. Again, it’s definitely too short of a track though, if you’re gonna flex those talents then go for it, do a Queen and hit us with a 7 minute long ballad.

11. No Problem (Keep It live)

Finally, a song longer than 3 minutes. This song reverts back to the sound issues are known for, however some experimental notes and chords scattered throughout still give that sassy and dance feel laced within the heavier musicality. In the last third of the song there are small bursts of extra vocalists in the background that just add that little bit of uniqueness to the song and give it that extra push – it’s exactly what the track needed to seperate it from the others.

12. Your Sake

This song is definitely a tear jerker. If you ever need to just let your feelings out, put your earphones in, play this song and just let it all out – it’s like a form of therapy through someone else being emotional. This song is such a beautiful and raw masterpiece, I can imagine this song has little-to-no editing in it, purely because you can hear Tyler’s voice wavering on certain lines, highlighting how personal and true that track is to him. I can imagine this song being absolutely stunning live with a sea of lights in the crowd, thousands of people with arms around each other, all singing their hearts out.

13. Beautiful Oblivion

With this song being a title track it already has a significant amount of pressure on it and rather high expectations, and you know what? It smashes them out of the park. It’s such a delicate balance of the heavier musicality, a couple heavy vocals thrown in there, some short breakdowns and some belted vocals, it’s everything I’d want it to be. They definitely saved a strong song to end the album off with.

Overall, the album is a very strong, experimental piece of pure art. Although some songs could benefit from a couple more heavier vocals, the album as a whole doesn’t make me miss the old lineup at all. It’s always daunting releasing new music after a lineup change but they smashed it and I can’t wait for you all to listen to it and tell me what you think.

Issues are also coming to the UK and EU next month on their headline tour with Lotus Eater. The full list of dates are as follows:

7/10 Berlin, Germany – Music & Friedan
8/10 Rotterdam, Netherlands – Baroeg
9/10 Cologne, Germany – Club Volta
10/10 Paris, France – Gibus
12/10 Cardiff, Wales – Clwb Ifor Bach
13/10 Glasgow, Scotland – The Cathouse
15/10 Birmingham, England – O2 Academy
16/10 Manchester, England – Manchester Academy
17/10 London, England – Underworld

Tickets available here

Written and Edited by Ely King

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s