Album Review: Revival Recordings - 'It's All Acoustic'

3 February 2016 | 10:26 am | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

Easily one of the better acoustic compilations out there.

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Acoustic compilations can go one of two ways. It’s either the kind of thing you listen to once or, at the very least, something you come back to every now and then when you're feeling the acoustic jams. Or it's something you skip and just pass off as complete shite because the songs, if they are covers that is, perhaps were neither intended for the style nor work in the acoustic realm. Well, with Revival Recordings' newest acoustic compilation, aptly titled 'It's All Acoustic', it is more of a case of somewhere in the middle as these songs are actually all brand new material from the respective bands (Well, except for the inclusion of the once hidden 'Dancing Alone' by Alesana from their 2014 EP, 'The Decade').

Most of these bands are going to be new to your ears, unless you already strongly follow the label or bands. We had never heard of The Funeral Portrait or The Things We Carried before this compilation. But there is of course a positive there; you can discover new music and who doesn't love that except for jaded old farts who always comment on the same old posts, dumbly saying, 'What happened to rock and roll??!!'

Anyway, to the bands!

Alesana, the scene band that could (who appear twice on this compilation because singer Shawn Mike owns Revival Recordings so of course they do), are still writing about what they've penned for years now; dark and bittersweet, emotional love. Also, if you've ever wanted to hear an acoustic Alesana song with screaming, than 'Hiatus' is it, folks.

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In fact, most (not all, but most) of these songs do revolve around the oh so popular love/relationship/heartbreak topic (at least, we think so), and after a short while it gets pretty old. That's probably the only issue with this release, and while it's just one complaint, it's a big one at that.

But, there's plenty of redeeming qualities. Famous last Words, whom recently signed with the US label, open up the compilation with 'I'll Be Home', which is a far cry from what they usually do. Please see, Exhibit A and Exhibit B. And it's a solid song, one of the better ones off the release. 'Casanova (C'est LaVie)' by The Funeral Portrait, does indeed feature a full arrangement, drums and bass and all, not just acoustic guitar and vocals, thankfully. Some tracks like Megosh's (which is probably what Bumblebee Man from The Simpsons would say if he was British) 'Winona' are definitely more poppy than others on the album, but nonetheless emotional. Seriously, look up 'Clarity' by that band: that'll beat you down right in the feels. The same can be said for Tempting Paris's 'Stand Up', which kind of sounds and feels like a female fronted Panic! At The Disco tribute band.

If we are looking out for a definite standout track, then we'd have to say that post-hardcore crew The Things We Carried take that prize with their song 'Nightingale', which is not only rhythmically driving and intriguing, but also pretty catchy and not in a bad way, like herpes.

As far as acoustic compilations go, you could do a lot worse, and nobody ever wants to do worse. If you are even remotely familiar with these bands or Revival Recordings, hearing these bands perform in the acoustic realm can and will change your mind on them. Even if you don't like the usual tunes they put out (i.e Alesana's post-hardcore/emo stylings or Famous Last Word's sing/scream breakdown combos), there's a lot to like here.

1. I'll Be Home Soon (Famous Last Words)

2. Broken Maiden (Cabaret Runaway)

3. Hiatus (Alesana)

4. Casanova (C'est LaVie) (The Funeral Portrait)

5. Winona (Megosh)

6. Natural Born Thriller (Uh Huh Baby Yeah)

7. Stand Up (Tempting Paris)

8. Nightingale (The Things They Carried)

9. Long Nights, Stupid (The Legitimate Excuse)

10. Dancing Alone (Alesana)