It’s been a wonderous year for pop punk. Fireworks, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, The Story So Far and Transit have all released new albums this year, and were all met with great success. However, some pop punk bands who release their albums later than the previously mentioned ones haven’t made a big impression. My favorite band Four Year Strong, for one, has changed their sound remarkably to some accessible radio rock (based on their new songs), and A Loss For Words’ new singles just fail to make an impression at all. Both these bands happen to stop by in Sweden on Four Year Strong’s European album release tour. How that will work out will develop once the time comes, but if No Sanctuary still is as dull by the time they’re playing the show, as it is now, I’m guessing their performance will be a boring one.
A Loss For Words have always been slightly gum pop-ish. That you know by just watching the music video for “Hold Your Breath” from their previous effort The Kids Can’t Lose. This is a lot more prominent on No Sanctuary, with its basic verses and emphasized, catchy choruses. While some songs on The Kids Can’t Lose had patterns that made you remember them for, not going to lie, the rest of your life probably, the entirety of No Sanctuary goes unnoticed. As mentioned, pretty much all songs have super catchy choruses (notable examples are “Raining Excuses”, “JMR” and “Finite”) that make you bob your head and feet, but even so, not a single lyric catches your attention. Not a single verse is out of the ordinary; it’s riff, after riff, after riff. Two songs, however, stand out – mainly because of their remarking features. The title track “No Sanctuary” completely crushes the previous poppy songs with its faster, hardcore-esque approach and screamed lyrics (at least at the start). “Jetsetter” is a ballad – No Sanctuary‘s “Mount St. Joseph”, if you will – and also the most interesting song. I’m a sucker for the occasional ballad or calm, sweet song, so amongst ten other mostly uninteresting songs, it stands out and becomes the culmination of the album.
While The Kids Can’t Lose wasn’t Album Of The Year material, it still kept me coming back to it thanks to a couple of really good songs. No Sanctuary, however, has few to no tracks worth coming back to. It’s decent to listen to while doing other things, or to get your spirit up, but you easily get bored and thoughts drift away; they’re often about what band you could listen to that would give you more. I’m sorry, A Loss For Words. The new album didn’t cut it.