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7 out of 10
It's over a year since I reviewed Kyoto Drive's EP and in that time the Birmingham boys have been working on their debut full length This is All We Ever Wanted. I gave their EP some high praise so expectations were high when I sat down to listen to their new album.
What is clear early on in the album is the maturity that the band has gained since their Spotlights and Stars EP, though this doesn't immediately translate to creating great songs. The album starts in a relatively underwhelming fashion, with the second track I'd Give It All sounding too much like a poor man's Yellowcard song to have much lasting appeal. It takes a re-recording (and renaming) of a track of their EP to spark the album to life. Make Up Doesn't Cover Everything is a proper pop-rock song and it deserves its place on the album. Perhaps its most important facet though is that it seems to kick the album into the next gear. The next three songs are as good as any you will hear on a UK rock album this year.
Are You Taking Me Apart To See Me Insides? starts the 'trifecta of joy' (TM) with an anthemic sing-a-long treat, the type of which could become Kyoto Drive's calling card. The song then seamlessly segues into It's Not About Revenge, Don't Make It Personal, showing that Kyoto Drive can turn the distortion up a bit more if they want to. Here the similarities between Kyoto Drive and The Early November and Spitalfield come to the fore, but by the time you have noticed that they switch their style again with the Moneen-esque Make This Alright.
However, the frustrating thing about this album is the low quality of the production. The guitars get blended together and the drums sound like they were recorded about 30 years ago. Someone needs to give these boys a chance to record with a decent engineer and when I think what someone like Mark Trombino or Mike Sapone could do with this band; it only serves to highlight just how talented I think this band is, and how big they could be.
But we have to live in the present and for now Kyoto Drive have to be content with putting out a fantastic album, which I'm sure will be pretty easy for them to do. I told people to watch out for Kyoto Drive over a year ago, now I think it will only be a matter of time before they take the next step and start getting the recognition that they, and this album deserves.
2. I'd Give It All
3. Make Up Doesn't Cover Everything
4. Are You Taking Me Apart To See Me Insides?
5. It's Not About Revenge, Don't Make It Personal
6. Make This Alright
7. Notes From Look Out Point
8. Fighting Talk
9. Hold Your Head High