Friday, January 29, 2016

Waking Ashland: Composure [2005] — Album Review

Jonathan Jones: Lead Vocals, Keyboards
Ryan Lallier: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Andrew Grosse: Bass, Backing Vocals
Thomas Lee: Drums, Organ
Produced by Lou Giordano

1. Shades of Grey – 3:10
2. I Am for You – 3:34
3. Rumors – 4:09
4. Edinger – 3:36
5. October Skies – 4:19
6. Let Go – 3:50
7. Hands on Deck – 5:05
8. Long Shot – 4:02
9. Silhouettes – 4:14
10. Same Problem – 3:30
11. Medication – 3:43
12. Overjoyed – 3:31
13. Sing Me to Sleep – 4:55
Total Runtime: 51:38

Composure is the debut album from Waking Ashland. And boy, is this a good debut. Washing Ashland really had a handle on what they wanted to do here, because it came out really well.
Composure opens with a piano/vocal only track (like The Everglow, which is a good comparison for Waking Ashland), "Shades of Grey" (not related to Fifty Shades, nor should Waking Ashland be mentioned in the same paragraph as that trash), which is really peaceful amd serene. "I Am for You", formerly known as "I Am for You (Don't Give Up Yet)", is WA's most well-known song, and for good reason: it's freaking spectacular. The melancholy opening which switches to an upbeat, joyful chorus is executed perfectly. "Rumors" continues the streak of awesomeness, and so does "Edinger".
Now we have some drums, then some piano, and we have "October Skies", which has nothing to do with the Student Rick song. I find it really strange that I know two really good songs called "October Skies"; I mean, that's not a common thing people say, it's not "Photograph" either (bands with a song called "Photograph": Weezer, Def Leppard... Nickelback...). It's just weird. Then we have "Let Go", which is in a strange spot between the piano-soaked songs "October Skies" and "Hands on Deck", but otherwise is another great addition to the record."Hands on Deck" has some great lyrics, but besides that it's a little on the boring side. "Long Shot" is a great comeback from "Hands on Deck", which just makes "Hands on Deck" feel more out of place between "Let Go" and "Long Shot".
"Silhouettes" and "Same Problem" slow down from "Long Shot", but they don't break the flow and both are great songs. "Medication" is alright, and "Overjoyed" is awesome. The guitars really mesh well with the piano on Composure.
Finally, the album exits the same way it entered, piano/vocals only, and "Sing Me to Sleep" does a great job as a closer.

Shades of Grey: 8/10
I Am for You: 10/10
Rumors: 9/10
Edinger: 8/10
October Skies: 7/10
Let Go: 7/10
Hands on Deck: 6/10
Long Shot: 9/10
Silhouettes: 8/10
Same Problem: 8/10
Medication: 8/10
Overjoyed: 9/10
Sing Me to Sleep: 7/10

Subtotal: 104/130
Bonus Points:
Total: 104/130
Score 8.0 Excellent

Genres: Alternative, Indie

Last Review: Soundtrack for a Generation by Student Rick
Next Review: In Reverie by Saves the Day
Next Waking Ashland Review: The Well

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