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Against The Wall: Things Are Not Like They Said

Against The Wall certainly arrive with a strong pedigree and ringing endorsements, with the band's singer and main creative force Daniel Jakubovic having already been acclaimed by Dream Theater keyboard player Jordan Rudess as "Among the most talented musicians I've ever met", while the band themselves were specially invited to open for Dream Theater at their 2001 gig in Tel Aviv. So on that basis, you'll have already gathered that there's much to be impressed by on ATW's second album, Things Are Not Like They Said. However impressed though I may be by the complex arrangements, dextrous musicianship and cleverly written songs, to say that I've fully engaged with TANLTS as an album would be a fair stretch of the imagination.

Not quite sure whether to be modern rock, progressive, or even in places Emo, Against The Wall instead decide to straddle all three, via strings, saxophone and jazzy flavours. On paper it is either a masterstroke, or lunacy. In practice, it's neither, instead falling into the trap of being just a little too clever for its own good, while failing to engage in the way that it really ought to. Jakubovic has one of those whiny voices that so many modern rock singers seem to have these days, making an angst ridden and tortured album sound ever so slightly mawkish and truth be told annoying. That assessment could be construed as a little unfair, as truth be told, in between the long, introspective section that seldom seem to lead somewhere, there are some absolutely beautiful nuggets. It is just that ATW don't half make you work hard for them. The burst of saxophone during "Temporary" is a perfect example, snatching a explosion of melody from the gloom, whereas the up-tempo power-punk of "Get Up Wake Up" introduces an injection of much needed energy into an album that can for very long periods feel extremely one paced. Add to that beautiful vocal harmonies, strings and acoustic guitar in the shape of "Freeze" and the positively punchy piano-led pop-rock of "Lost Inside" and it has to be said that when this album shines, it does so brilliantly. For my taste however the more progressive side of Things Are Not Like They Said feel contrived and forced and when much of the album's seventy or so minutes falls into that category, the overall impression you are left with is of an album that would rather dazzle with virtuosity than truly entertain.

There's so much promise on TANLTS, that it is hard to put it into words. The frustration that so little of it is actually acted upon is equally exasperating.

Track Listing
1. Part I - Overture
2. Part II - Would You Be Happy?
3. The Enemy
4. A Few Days Left
5. Temporary
6. Take Everything
7. Lost Inside
8. Look Up At The Sky
9. Get Up Wake Up
10. Freeze
11. Blown Away
12. A Dose Of Reason
13. Stuck In A Daze

Added: April 28th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: ATW Band Online
Hits: 2120
Language: english

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