When Abington, Massachusetts’ A Loss For Words released their last album, The Kids Can’t Lose, in 2009, there seemed to be a split reaction. Some praised the record, and caused the band’s fanbase to grow quite a bit. Others said that the record was just another generic pop-punk record, with nothing to make it stand out from the pack. With No Sanctuary, the group’s Rise Records debut, A Loss For Words have returned with a more versatile record, which will definitely shut some of their naysayers down.
Tracks like “Honeymoon Eyes,” “The Hammer Falls,” and “The Lost Cause I Used To Be” sound like beefed up versions of tracks off The Kids Can’t Lose. They stay true to the band’s pop-punk style, but just sound bigger, ultimately resulting in better tracks. “The Hammer Falls” features overly catchy “oooh” behind Matty Arsenault’s vocals, making the track nearly irresistible. As the rest of the band provides gang vocals on “The Lost Cause I Used To Be,” the group shows that this time around, their use of gang vocals are much more tasteful, and far less over used.
“No Sanctuary” lets A Loss For Words show off their hardcore roots, being lead in with the most aggressive vocal performance in the band’s discography, backed by Jack Mchugh’s intense, speeding drums. Like most hardcore based tracks, the only complaint with the title track is that it runs too short. “JMR” is another fast paced track, working perfectly off the leftover steam from “No Sanctuary.”
On “Jetsetter,” the guys slow it down for a ballad-like track. Those still reeling from Valencia’s recent break-up will certainly enjoy this track, as it provides a similar vibe to that given off by Valencia’s last record, Dancing With A Ghost.
With the closing track, A Loss For Words present the listeners with their best performance to date. The re-recorded, full band version of “Wrightsville Beach” is a treat for both newcomers and old fans who remember the track in its original, acoustic incarnation. The incredibly catchy chorus, the perfect usage of gang vocals, the fast paced musicianship, the delightful vocals. Everything about the track shows exactly what A Loss For Words is about. As far as closing tracks go, this may be the best one to come out of 2011.
No Sanctuary is one of the biggest improvements in a discography that someone could want. There is more versatility than before. The tracks can be differentiated from one another much better than on the groups older work. Not to mention, Arsenault’s R&B style vocals shine greatly throughout the album, even more than they have on A Loss For Words’ previous work. There is no doubt that these five gentlemen are doing their scene justice, and No Sanctuary is proof of that.
1. Honeymoon Eyes
2. Pray For Rain
4. Raining Excuses
5. The Hammers Fall
6. The Lost Cause I Used To Be
7. No Sanctuary
11. Wrightsville Beach
Standout Tracks: Wrightsville Beach, No Sanctuary, Honeymoon Eyes
For Fans Of: Fireworks, Man Overboard, a non-synthy, non-breakdowny version of Four Year Strong