“Never Going To Kill Us” is perhaps the best beginning to any disc to come out this year; there are equal amounts of rock and punk mixed together that is imbued by The Smashup into something that is completely their own style. The three and a forth minutes of “Never Going To Kill Us” shows an AFI type sound, but one that looks equally to the earlier punk days and the later emo albums. Even if the opening vocal assault of “No Name” is a little goofy, the delivery of Watt during the track has a little of the grit present in both Lemmy (Motorhead) and Tim (Rise Against)’s delivery.
Throw in a little hair metal theatricality and The Smashup comes up with an album that is always interesting. “The Beating of Your Life” is another unqualified hit by The Smashup; in this track, Watt’s vocals almost take on a Goo Goo Dolls tone before moving into a more nu-rock style. Couple that with a uniting of the machine gun drumming and guitars present on the track and individuals will be jerked around and played like instruments during this track – The Smashup are the puppetmasters here. When The Smashup is confronted with a slow-starting track, as is the case with “Violencer Part II”, Watt and Vin (guitarist) really make up for last time with a furious style that will drive individual interest back up to the level it was during previous tracks on the disc.
Even if the later tracks on “Being and Becoming” settle down from the intense path that The Smashup were burning on the first half of the disc, the band does not just pack it in and go on auto-pilot for the second half. Tracks like “They Were There” are still burning with a similar fire to the rest of the CD, while “Dream” is a much more sedate song in the style of Edwyn McCain or Finger Eleven. A late-disc track that recreates the newness of the first half of “Being and Becoming” is “House Aflame”. “House Aflame” has the vocal narrative of acts of “IV”-era Coheed and Cambria while bursting in a rattling-off of terms that will make listeners pull back and say “wow”. Where has The Smashup been all my live? The last five years have been great to the band and “Being and Becoming” is a fun album through and through, from the shrill guitars of “House Aflame” to the opening strains of the disc.
Top Tracks: House Aflame, Never Going To Kill Us