Literally Party-Starting Fourth Album
The Blackout have been one of the most fun and enjoyable propositions the modern incarnation of the rock world has to offer for a while, their blazing live show supporting their dual-vocal party-starting post-hardcore perfectly led by firestarter frontmen Sean Smith and Gavin Butler. Fourth album Start The Party then feels like a celebration of all things the Merthyr Tyfdil sextet are about and is a brilliantly exuberant listen for it.
With the band choosing to focus on positivity and provide eleven exultant escapes from daily stresses, this is a record to bounce around and singalong to. This is The Blackout just having fun, enjoying themselves and making a record that doesn't take itself too seriously.
The title-track and lead single distils all of this into one don't-stop-till-you-drop opener that manages to incorporate elements of Andrew WK, The Beastie Boys and even Faith No More alongside hedonistic bouncing vibes, cheerleader chants and Smith's brilliantly apt revival of the early 00s "wassssuuuuupppppp!" (watch the first Scary Movie) at the track's end. It's a great way to start the record and does exactly as it intends; if this comes on at a party, drink in hand, you'll be dancing like a loon whether you like it or not. Here on out it's a mixture of this new larger than life side to the band's personality amongst elements of their traditional post-hardcore tinged sound. Take Away The Misery is an example of the latter with Smith's violent screams flying in immediately followed by a vocally overlapping chorus between them and Butler's more melodic tones while We Live On is a complete collision between the two eras of sound with its euphoric gang-chant chorus mixing it in with the heavier elements.
It doesn't always work unfortunately, the album taking occasional missteps, acoustic-led ballad You meanders slightly and feels forced and the likes of Sleep When You're Dead and Let Me Go are moments when the newer sound doesn't hit the mark at all and falls into throw-away territory. All is saved however by the mighty Keep Singing, the album's best track, undeniably uplifting and reminding of much-loved fan-favourite It's High Tide Baby!, Smith and Butler's melodies hitting a bunch of the best things about dual-vocal structures and Matthew and James Davies' huge summery guitar tones behind them creating something that makes it impossible not to smile when it comes on.
Start The Party won't be for everyone but it will be for many others and is an example of a band refusing to give in to pressures and making a record that's both fun for them and fun for the listener. So grab a drink, whack on your shades and have a laugh for half an hour with this as your soundtrack.