I have to admit that 2012 has practically bombarded music lovers with an astounding amount of fantastic debuts this year. It’s enough to give anyone hope that for every terrible generic band they hear, there’s another band giving it their all in a studio somewhere, proving that hard work can pay off. Thought Beneath Film is one of those bands, and they present enough talent to keep the radios turned up for a long time to come.
Playing an extremely catchy brand of pop-rock, Thought Beneath Film have a chemistry and youthful vigor that helps make up for any of the mistakes made on their debut. With snappy, shining production and songs that get stuck in your head instantly, Detours is a promising opening number from a band that has nowhere to go but up.
Right from the get go, Thought Beneath Film make good on their promise of guitar driven pop-rock, as opener If I Could Fix You (You Know That I Would) could easily fit in on any radio station, with upbeat percussion and speedy guitar riffs floating beneath Brent Wirth’s flawless vocals. This track is a perfect indication of what’s to follow, as the easygoing, hook laden five tracks on display follow a similar patter.
False Skin puts the impressive guitar work at the forefront, giving Brian Wirth and David Lindsay the chance to show their chops, while Matt Foster’s high energy behind the kits keeps the song flowing well. The chorus absolutely soars, making it the perfect sing-a-long song for any summer drive. This is a perfect example of pure, plain and simple pop-rock, and much of the enjoyment comes from the eager simplicity that Thought Beneath Film exude.
The production deserves a mention for how tremendous it is. Although only a debut, this band is already working with names like Tom Lord-Alge and Bob Ludwig, whose work with bands such as Green Day, Blink-182 and Nirvana stand as shining examples of how an album should be done. To have this kind of support this early in their career gives Thought Beneath Film a huge advantage over their peers, and it shows on Detours.
Even though Maybe I’m A Chump is another catchy track, its bouncy beat and high energy already feel a little too familiar three songs in. It doesn’t feel less authentic or worse than any other song, but it does start to cause some weariness that could be avoided by integrating small changes to the usual pattern.
The lyrics on display aren’t horrible either, but they don’t do much to break past the usual genre tropes. With lines like “Don’t leave me behind/And fall into line/I’m killing time/Waiting for someone to find,” the wheel isn’t exactly being reinvented, but I would be lying if I said they weren’t easy to sing along to. And when it comes to pop-rock, isn’t that what really matters?
Hearts On Overdrive manages to break out of the mold a bit, taking the tempo down half a notch and relying on some well-implemented synth to incorporate just a little something different. The difference is noticeable and quite welcome, especially with Wirth’s pipes emulating a tiny bit of Tom DeLonge, but the closing track is where Thought Beneath Film really shines.
Sixty-Six builds to an explosive chorus of “bah-bah-bah’s” that were made for chanting, repeating, shouting, and any other action used for singing emphatically. Each band member gives all they can, and every note hits the right mark. I personally believe that the closing song on any album is a true indication of what a band can really amount to, and judging by Sixty-Six, we can expect a lot from these guys.
So at the end of the day, we’re left with an exceptional debut that serves to break down boring radio-rock in favor of pop-rock with some heart and genuineness for good measure. Despite the repetitive nature of the EP, Detours serves as a great introduction to an up and coming band that has a lot going their way. With a little more growth and some variation to their style, Thought Beneath Film could very well become the next band you hear blasting from the radio on a sunny day, as that’s exactly where they belong.