March 18, 2009

Album Review: A Sucker's Dream

The Alternate Route's sophomore album kicks off the deck as a strong album, one that amply follows up their first release, 2007's Good and Wreckless and True, which I really enjoyed. The group has been around for a couple of years, and broke into the music scene with an energetic and solid rock sound that, while not totally, completely orginal, was resfreshing and easy to get into. This second album, titled A Sucker's Dream, represents not so much a depatrure from the sound of their first album, but more a refinement throughout, from the lyrics to the overall sound.

I first saw the Alternate Routes during the summer of 2007, and again later that fall with Paulo Nutini, and came away from both shows impressed with their sound and energy. They were able to really build up the energy with a great set of songs - which included some new songs that ended up on this album, such as The Future Is Nothing New and Desdamona.

Where Good and Ordinary and True stumbled - it was a bit scattered with a number of good, but disjointed songs - A Sucker's Dream picks up. This album is far better structured, largely around a couple dedicated themes of love, and regaining love. The album has a questioning feel to it, as if the singer is working desperately to figure things out as life speeds past. It's something that I find highly relatable over the past year.

The album is filled with a ton of absolutely golden lyrics, throughout the album. Their songwriting has certainly matured and grown since we last saw them.

The one downside that I really saw to this album was that there wasn't necessarily a breakout song like Time Is A Runaway, off of Good and Wreckless and True. There are a number of absolutely fantastic songs on this disc, but none necessarily felt as free and clear as that song, which recieved wide radio play on adult alternative stations. The opening track here, On and On We Whisper, comes close, but overall, this album sounds far tighter, and moves with a purpose. While the first one felt like the group was trying to find their best sound, this album sounds like they've found it, but they didn't really deviate from that.

In the end, it's clear that there is something fantastic here. From their first album, these guys had a fantastic sound that really grew into something better with this second release (as well as the two EPs that they have released in the past two years). The sound has been refined, there's a clear theme and aim, and it all sounds good.

The group is currently on a short set of stops along the east coast. If you're nearby, do yourself a favor and check them out:

  • Mar 21 2009 9:00P WorkPlay Theatre Birmingham, Alabama
  • Mar 22 2009 8:00P Sudworks Taphouse - Acoustic Duo Columbia, North Carolina
  • Mar 23 2009 9:00P Local 506 - Acoustic Duo Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Mar 26 2009 7:30P StageOne Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Mar 27 2009 9:00P World Cafe Live (Upstairs) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Mar 28 2009 8:00P 9:30 Club - w/ Honor By August Washington DC
  • Apr 8 2009 7:45P The Mercury Lounge New York, New York

All That I See - The Alternate Routes