When Southern California’s Something Corporate released their debut album, Leaving Through the Window, it was clear to anyone who heard it that there was something unique about this band. Whether it is their piano-based form of emotional punk, or straightforward and honest lyrics, Something Corporate have built up a widespread fan base, mostly through word of mouth and extensive touring.
With the release of their sophomore effort, North, Something Corporate show a maturity and understanding that was lacking on Leaving Through the Window. Something Corporate have moved on from singing about love and lost love to tales of life, murder and the missing. Not only have they matured lyrically, their musical style seems to have grown as well. Something Corporate have never resorted to basic punk rhythms or repetitive riffs. Instead, they rely on vocalist Andrew McMahon’s piano stylings. In this respect, Something Corporate are like a younger, more fun, more touching version of Ben Folds Five.
North is a 12-song tribute to how much Something Corporate have grown since the release of Leaving Through the Window. The album opens with “As You Sleep,” a harmonious quasi-ballad that depicts the feelings of loss and anxiety over leaving a loved one to go on tour. It sets North’s recurring theme – the sense of loneliness that often accompanies a life of touring. Although this is a theme that has been tackled countless times by countless musicians, Something Corporate do it with a grace that most cannot achieve. Rather than complaining about being on tour, they are stating the facts of touring and the effects of being away from home for months at a time.
Other highlights of North include “Only Ashes,” an incredibly personal and introspective song that guitarist Josh Partington describes as being “about frustration and how it seems like sometimes the worst things that can happen to you, you end up doing to yourself.” “Ruthless,” “She Paints me Blue” and “Me and the Moon” are also well worth checking out. The album’s closing track, “Miss America,” offers a positive and satisfying conclusion: “I will write this down for you so you can read it/ I will hold my breath for you so I won’t feel it/ You don’t have to see me this way/ ‘Cause this way I’m okay.”
North is Something Corporate at their best, and proof that they can only get better. With more word of mouth and more extensive touring, it is certain that Something Corporate will continue to rise. Whether you have just heard of Something Corporate or are already an avid fan, go pick up a copy of North and be guaranteed that you will absolutely love it.
One last thing, although not on North, I still maintain that “Konstantine” is one of the best songs I have heard all year.
Something Corporate: http://www.somethingcorporate.com/