Another Lost Year - 'Better Days'
Dave Whitaker - guitars
Clinton Cunanan - vocals
Adam Hall - guitar
Lee Norris - drums
Jason Lovelace - bass
1.) "Better Days" - Lee opens this song playing a tom-tom/snare drum and bass drum pattern. Halfway through the measure a rhythm guitar kicks-in. The rhythm guitar is playing some sort of repeated guitar effect. To connect the intro with the musical verse a second rhythm guitar kicks - in playing a slightly different effect. The rhythm guitar of the opening musical verse was turned up so loud that it drowns out the lead guitar. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical. For the verse every third lyric line was recorded as an echo. For the verse every third lyric line was recorded as an echo. Clinton''s vocals were a cross between Shaun Morgan of Seether and Chris Daughtry sound to them however the way the band arranged the lyrics are mor along the lines of a Seether ballad. This is especially do to the vocal lines that are turned down. There is a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus. Like most modern rock songs, It really did not have that huge of a hook. There are two differences between the lyric lines of the first verse and the lyric lines of the second. The differences are Clinton double-tracked the second and fourth lyric lines. There is a deep vocal scream connecting the second chorus with the third verse. Call me old fashion however this would have been the best spot for a blistering lead guitar solo! For the third verse the drum pattern switched from a standard hi-hat pattern to a tom-tom pattern. There is a rhythm change and vocal scream over the top of the coda.
2.) "War On The Inside" -This intro opens with a clean electric guitar riff. Over the top of the riff there is a vocal accent. The full band kicks the intro arrangement in with a modern rock feel. The rhythm change and the way the lyric lines were arranged reminded me a lot of some of the stuff Shaun Morgan of Seether has written over the years. There is a lyric line over the top of a musical rest connecting the first musical chorus with the musical second musical verse. The second verse is a repeat of the first. The hook of the song isn't until the second chorus. After the second chorus there is a musical arrangement change. This also would have made for a great spot for a lead guitar solo section. There is a breakdown section leading into the third chorus.
3.) "All That We Are" - There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of this intro arrangement. There was a musical rest underneath the opening lyric line. Some of the lyric lines consisted of that lyric line being repeated to connect it to the next one. Almost like an echo. Lee opened and closed his hi-hat of the sixteenth-note pattern for the musical verse. This in some way gave the drum line a syncopated feel. The rhythm guitar of the musical verse was done with an electric picking riff. The second lyric line of the verse was repeated almost like an echo. The second lyric line is like the first. After the second echo there is a small lead guitar lick that leads into the rhythm guitar change. The chorus had a huge modern rock hook attached to it. The hooks of the choruses of this song made it by far the best on the CD!
4.) "Broken" - This intro opened with a pre-intro section that consisted of a snare drum fill followed by a rhythm guitar riff then snare fill then guitar riff. Underneath the two rhythm guitar riffs there is also a bass riff. After the snare drum fill and guitar riff are repeated three times each the main intro kicks-in. For the main intro section Dave and Adam continued to use the same rhythm guitar riffs as the riff of the pre-intro. However, Lee switched to a standard drum rhythm. For the drum line of the intro it sounded as if Lee switched between a hi-hat and cymbal pattern. There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse. It sounded like the last lyric of the first lyric line had a small echo attached to it. Not that this song sounds anything like Black Stone Cherry it is However very reminiscent to the same way Black Stone Cherry arranges their lyric lines. Much like the last lyric line of the first verse, the last lyric line of the third, fifth and seventh had an echo attached to them. There was a musical rest underneath the last lyric line of the musical verse. As a drummer the bass drum kick and the snare of the drum rhythm for the chorus is what gave the chorus its hook. The second verse had the same echoes as the first however, for some reason or another you could barely hear the attached echo. After the second chorus there is a small rhythm change that connects the second and third choruses. Once again, this band missed a perfect opportunity to have recorded a lead guitar solo. (I know in this day and time Rock band do not record guitar solos as they did in the sixties, seventies and eighties. However, when an artist misses an opportunity like this one, I can't help but question just how great of a song writer they are.) There are two vocal scream accents over the top of the final chorus of the coda.
5.) "What You Deserve" -This intro consisted of a lead guitar rhythm over the top of a simple rhythm guitar along with a drum and bass line. The main instrumentation of musical verse was the drum and bass line. I felt the lyric lines flowed very nice with the musical arrangement. There was a small lead guitar lick connecting the musical verse with the musical pre-chorus. The rhythm guitar arrangement really doesn't kick-in until the musical pre-chorus. Clinton double-tracked a vocal accent underneath his lead vocal lines of the chorus. The way the chorus was arranged gave it a very sweet hook. After second chorus there wa a breakdown section. The choruses of this song are by far the best the band wrote for the release.
6.) "Angel"(featuring Lish Rimer, to my knowledge this has been her only professional vocal credit. If I am mistaking please let me know via email and I will make the necessary corrections. )This was the best song on the release!!!!!! In Some ways it reminded of Seether & Amy Lee (Evanescence).
7.) "Run Away" -7.) "Run Away" - This track opened with an acoustic guitar strumming pattern over the top of a very simple clean electric rhythm. The band used the same two rhythm guitar arrangements for the musical verse. To differentiate the musical verse with the musical intro Jason and Lee kicked-in a drum and bass line. Some of the lyric lines sound double-tracked. Both Dave and Adam change their guitar rhythms for the musical chorus. Too the me verses had more of a huge hook than the choruses did. There was a minor rhythm solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse. At first I felt this song was screaming for an acoustic lead guitar solo however, after the song kicked-in its really the only one that doesn't need a solo.
8.) "Your Last Goodbye" -This is a very basic Modern Rock song.
9.) " Writing On The Wall" -This track consisted on no intro arrangement. The song opens with lead vocals and rhythm guitar. The drum and bass line kick-in underneath the fourth lyric line. There is a lead vocal line over the top of a snare and tom-tom fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The chorus for this track is the first actual chorus where there is a backing vocal. The rhythm guitar riffs of the song are very simple. There are a couple bass notes that get very loud. There is a modern rock breakdown down section after the second chorus.
10.) "Come And Gone" -This track opens with an acoustic guitar arrangement. There is a small musical rest connecting the intro with the musical verse. The musical verse consisted of the same acoustic guitar arrangement as the intro. Underneath the acoustic guitar Lee is keeping time with a tambourine. For the musical chorus the bands incorporated an orchestrated arrangement to fill-in the empty gaps of the acoustic guitar. If I'm not mistaking this was the first song on the release that contained backing vocals. The coda consisted of just an acoustic guitar rhythm and lead vocals.
11.) "Forget About Us" - The intro to this track consisted of two separate rhythm guitar arrangements. Underneath the rhythm guitars Lee is playing cymbal crashes and drum fills. There is a rhythm guitar effect connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. The musical verse consisted of a rhythm guitar change. For the third lyric line there was an echo attached to it. For the fifth lyric line Cliton double-tracked his lead vocals. Underneath the fourth lyric line, a second guitar rhythm kicks-in. This second rhythm was playing a repetitive lead guitar riff. There was a small musical rest connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. For a couple of measures at the end of the second verse there are three different rhythm guitar arrangements. There are several vocal screams leading into a breakdown section.
Anyone who knows me knows I am not a big Alternative Metal/Modern Hard Rock fan. In fact, outside of a couple of songs here and there I do not care for it much at all. Off the top of my head there are only three bands from this genre that I really care for and that is Black Stone Cherry, Hinder and Theory Of A Deadman. Do not get me wrong it has nothing to do with the genre itself. However, it is more the quality of the songwriting and musicianship. I can now add Another Lost Year to that list.
Forged from the red clay hills of Charlotte North Carolina, the eleven tracks on 'Better Days' are so very well written that it is very difficult to believe this is their freshman release. Making me think the guys are in the process of creating an empire that will rank up with some of the best Alternative Metal/Modern Hard Rock artists.
The sky is the limit for this band and I can only see great things coming their way. if you are into this style of music then you really need to check them out!!!!