The concept of an album being ‘a grower’ is an odd one. You could argue that if a record doesn’t grab you on first listen, then it’s not worth sticking with. But then some of my favourite albums have been ‘growers’. Why did I persevere each time? Because I could hear potential? Because my friends were singing its praises?
Timeshares’ sophomore full-length, Already Dead, firmly sits in the mysterious ‘grower’ category. Of course, it had a lot to live up to: the band’s debut album Bearable is one of the best punk rock records of the last decade. So it might come as a slight disappointment to some that Already Dead doesn’t follow the exact same format as their highly-rated predecessor.
Gone is a lot of the raw energy that made Bearable so good. Tracks like opener ‘State Line To State Line’ and ‘Heavy Hangs’ are unassuming slow burners. But that doesn’t mean they are bad songs, not by a long way – it’s just you have to appreciate that Timeshares have slightly shifted their focus when it comes to songwriting, but they’ve pulled it off brilliantly.
And it’s not as if the raucous moments have completely disappeared. ‘Tail Lights’ is a real fist pumping anthem, while ‘(Corner Of) Park and Park’ would fit nicely on Iron Chic’s newest release. But what pushes Already Dead into a more – dare I say it – mature direction, is its frequent nods to bands like Lucero. There are plenty of alt-country-esque riffs floating alongside the vocals, which have been apportioned largely to the more softly-sung Jonathan Hernandez.
In fact, there’s a bit of everything on this release, but it’s all neatly kept in sync by a well-thought-out set of influences. Timeshares have succeeded where a lot of bands fail – they’ve produced an excellent second album without rehashing the same formula of their debut.
This is an intelligent record that should do enough to satisfy the already-fans while at the same time firmly cementing the band’s place in the current punk rock climate – whatever that is. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it topping a few end of year lists in six months’ time.
– Andrew Cream
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