Always a Pleasureby Compound Red
The fact that Compound Red were even able to make an album after the departure of longtime lead singer John Lyman is a testament to their durability; new singer Greg Steffke has an earnest, choir boy-ish voice that pushes the band even closer to the emo sound espoused by their Milwaukee contemporaries and friends the Promise Ring. Nearly all of the songs have a melodic, mildly catchy lilt with the occasional harder rock & roll breakdown. Herein lies the album's biggest drawback: nearly all of the songs sound the same; the yearning, pleading guitars repeat over and over, and Dave Henderleiter continues his marshal, almost militaristic drumming style throughout. None of this is inherently bad; it's just repetitive. They clearly have the over-earnest emo/math rock thing down, but one wishes they could grow beyond that song structure. As a stand-alone album, Always a Pleasure serves as a sort of background music emo record; the songs don't leap out at you, but are pleasant and accomplished enough to float by in the background. "Volcano Kisses" is the notable exception: with a hushed verse and exploding chorus, Compound Red use their strengths to make one standout song to break up the homogeneity.
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