Acceptance – Colliding by Design (Album Review)
Ah, Acceptance. A name we haven’t heard in the scene in a very, very long time up until the released the first single for this new record a while back. Now they’re back with a brand new album after almost a decade, under Rise Records. Many of us remember some of their hits from their widely accepted “Phantoms” LP, which gave us classic tracks such as “In Too Far”, “Over You”, and of course, “So Contagious”. Let’s jump right into their brand new full length.
1. Diagram of a Simple Man – 8.5/10. One thing I have always loved about Acceptance is the way their drummer finds ways to make pocketed fills that seem to fit in well where they’re placed, and it shows on this tune. This one is a solid opening track, and although nothing about it really is mind-blowing or overwhelming, it does its job to deliver a strong comeback track for the band. I’d come back to it, but not the best they’re capable of by any means.
2. Colliding by Design – 9/10. When this song first starts out, it almost sounds like the guitar was plucked straight out of a Police record. As the song progresses, it turns out to be this almost indie, dance floor anthem with its driving drums, and soaring clean guitars and airy vocals in the chorus. Although it’s not really the side of them that I fell in love with on the first record, there’s a nice little solo tagged in there at the end that really pulls the last chorus and the rest of the song together as a whole.
3. We Can Escape – 7.5/10. This song comes across as another pop song, although this one has slightly less appealing factors about it that stand out. It sounds almost at times like this band is trying to appeal to fans of bands such as The 1975, Walk The Moon, etc. The delivery isn’t bad, but at the same time it didn’t stand out, hardly at all.
4. Come Closer - 9/10. I’m not sure what it is about this song that kind of hooked me from the start, but the vocal effect, and the lead guitar that makes its way into the lead into the second verse, paired with a beat that will take you away to a different place, makes this easily one of the best songs on the record. Really solid experimental bridge work here, as well.
5. Goodbye - 9/10. I hear a lot of Atlas Genius (If So, Trojans) coming through on this song right here. It isn’t a bad delivery, but you can tell that whether the deliverance there was intentionally to appeal to this band or sub-genre, it stands out, it’s pinpointed, it’s specific, and it gets pulled off in the best way possible. Different track, but a very well performed one. This one is catchy and will be stuck in your head for a very long time.
6. 73. – 7.5/10. Clocking in at 5:00 exactly long, the lyrical content in this one is something about it that will definitely stick with you for awhile, and you can tell that in the verses especially, that was the goal, was to capture emotion lyrically and vocally throughout the course of the song. The drums do help keep the song driving and help it not seem like it drags on TOO long; however, there’s not enough vocally and percussively to save the song, and although there is a nice chorus, there’s honestly nothing super special going on here.
7. Fire and Rain – 9.5/10. This is probably the closest thing to “old Acceptance” that we’ve seen to date on this album, and I have to say, I’m digging it. This chorus is huge. The verses are driving. If it were up to me, this would be the one playing on all the stations all over the area. The guitars in this chorus are driving and the solo really brings the song to life, making for your typical yet very solid pop-rock song.
8. Sunset – 8.5/10. The vocals, the vocals, the vocals are the reason this song captures the emotion being unveiled by the lead singer, taking you off to a different place, a different one for everyone, but at the same time, the same kind of place. This is another song that kind of throws the guitars in the background as filler for most of the song, but the last chorus brings them forward a little bit, but not enough as I quite think they should have.
9. Haunted – 9.5/10. The other lead single, aside from the album’s opener, I hadn’t listened to it up until I did a full listen through of the record. This one definitely highlights how in the verses it appears that the band is focused on heavy beats, but the guitars in this chorus come through in prominence and shining colors. The adding of piano near the end that build to the final chorus make this another one of the best on the record.
10. When I Was Cursed - 8/10. There are some songs on this record that very well showcase how diverse the band is and how well they can transition from one genre to another, and although this song isn’t really bad, there are a lot of moments where the keyboards (or guitars) could have shone through a little more. I do, however want to highlight the bridge/final chorus of this song. It does start slow but by the end, you end up liking the song just a little bit more than you did at the beginning. I would have liked to see this as the closing track maybe, but its close enough to the end as it is.
11. Golden - 8/10. This song, although I hate to say it started off kind of slow, stays kind of flatlined the whole time, up until the ending. I think with every listen, I hear it as a whole and think something more could have happened with this song. I did enjoy the drumming that came out during a lot of it, and the clean guitar and airy synth, vocals, and piano in the bridge make a really nice sounding section that transition to the end of the song. Solid closer, but no “wow factors” here.
Song Flow / Differentiation: 7/10
Overall – 4/5
I have to say I’m surprised. I was weary walking into this record, worrying that they had taken a turn that so many bands before them (Summer Set, The Maine, Paramore, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low[ish]), in that they stopped writing pop punk music that the fans loved and turned to pander to a money-making radio friendly demographic. In a way, they did; they strayed from their roots. But it wasn’t a bad stray, at all, in any way. They made their way into the indie/pop/rock/dance scene (Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club, and Atlas Genius, as said before.) Although I was looking for a pop punk record and got an indie dance record, it was pulled off way too well for me to be disappointed, and I really hope that alternative rock and indie stations all over everywhere take this album off like it deserves to be. The craftsmanship here is very well executed and taking it for what it is, at face value, there is nothing much to complain about, at all. This one is gonna get a very strong 4.5/5 from me.