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8 out of 10
Is it fair to tag every female fronted pop-punk-rock band with the Hayley Williams Show badge (Paramore for those of you unaware of the fiery front-woman)? It's not really is it let's be honest, so anyone that ignores Hey Monday for the simple fact that they are a female fronted pop-punk-rock band that happen to be also on Decaydance Records in the USA like Paramore are being very small-minded.
That's not to say there aren't similarities, because quite frankly there are, but that is on the whole like calling any British instrumental band just copycats of Mogwai, or any male fronted doom-rock band copycats of Black Sabbath no matter how much they have expanded on that sound rather than just roll out the same riffs etc as some people might have you uneducatedly believe is the case all the time.
"Hold On Tight" is the debut album by Hey Monday and yes they are fronted by Cassadee Pope a little pocket-rocket with sweet feminine pipes, but this is by no means a one-woman-show. Also in the band is the tight-knit unit of Mike Gentile (Lead Guitar), Alex Lipshaw (Rhythm Guitar), Jersey Moriarty (Bass) and Elliot James (Drums), all of whom add their own part to make Hey Monday an exciting proposition (especially Gentile with some of the nice guitar licks we get going on like in "Homecoming").
Hey Monday has more in common with the likes of Jonas Brothers, The Cab, Avril Lavigne, Miley Cyrus and the whole High School Musical crowd than it does with All Time Low, Punchline and the rest of the pop-punk elite with the emphasis on the firmly on the pop with Hey Monday.
Songs like "Candles" might have fans holding their mobile phones aloft at gigs (whatever happened to lighters!?) with its feet firmly in the power-ballad territory but on record it does sound too sugary sweet for its own good with even some twinkle star noises at the start making it every bit the Disney soundtrack it could be. Whenever you get a "Candles"-moment though the band cleverly offset it to appeal (to this reviewer at least) to the listener with tracks like the breakdown loving, foot stomping sing-along of "Set Off", the gang-vocal head nodding "How You Love Me Now", or the popalicious guitar chugging monster that is "Josey".
Whilst I accept that "Hold On Tight" is slightly of-the-moment in its nature I do think that Hey Monday are a really solid group that offer a lot in terms of pop music and the album is a blast to listen to from start to finish. Hey Monday aren't the next Paramore, they're just Hey Monday and they're worthy of your time.
1. Set Off
2. How You Love Me Now
6. Run, Don't Walk
8. Hurricane Streets
10. Should've Tried Harder
11. 6 Months