When I reviewed A Will Away’s Bliss EP back in the Spring of 2015, I said that it was “an explosive, flag waving champion fighter of a record” and that “This is an EP that I truly believe in from a band that really knows what they’re doing. They just need to brace themselves for the ride.” The latter of these two excerpts may have been the most accurate piece of writing to come from something that I’ve published. Mere months after making that statement A Will Away found a new home with Triple Crown Records, re-releasing Bliss and allowing for their brand of infectious and hook-laden pop-rock to reach a much wider audience before beginning work on their debut album.
That record was announced with its opener and title track just shy of a month ago. The first few seconds of “Here Again” sound like such natural progression from where Bliss left off that I couldn’t help but smile. The songwriting as a whole feels tighter and the hooks soar higher than ever before. The song has this memorable quality that ensures its status as instant classic for the band, and lyrically begs to be played at every high school graduation party this June. Although it may come across as one, I promise that is not meant to be a dig. There’s something about the way that the line “We’ve always been good, but we’ll never be here again” that puts it up their with post-graduation anthems like Eve 6’s “Here’s To The Night” or Green Day’s “Good Riddance.” As you continue through the record, you’ll find this lyric is more than just a warm sentiment; it’s a mission statement.
Throughout the album’s thirteen tracks, I never found myself skipping over any of the songs or wondering when it was going to end. That’s a huge deal when you consider that I’m usually one for editing, and anything more than ten songs often feels a little bit daunting for me to dive into. Each and every one of these songs packs enough of a punch that you don’t want to stop listening. There’s the unrelenting opening punch that comes from “Here Again”, “Pay Raise”, and “Agoraphobia” that are so tightly packed with these belt your heart out kind of hooks that before you’ve even made it to track four, you’re breaking a sweat just trying to sing along. Fans both new and old will appreciate this just for what it is, but best part of this is just how much sweeter it makes the slower songs like “Summon Your Savior” feel.
“Summon Your Savior” is this sweet, stripped back moment that brings a new level of vulnerability to the table for A Will Away. We’ve grown so accustomed to these sung to the brink of screaming hooks and these crushing instrumentals that this feels like a much needed moment of reprieve. It’s only for a moment, as we’re immediately thrown back into songs like “The Shakes” that exist in the same plane as the soaring highs of the 90’s best pop-rock and something that only A Will Away could have brought to the table. That energy is the backbone of Here Again and is a big reason that I can’t stop listening to this record.
So, did A Will Away deliver on the promise of Bliss with Here Again? I’m pleased to say that they’ve exceeded any and all expectations that I had going into this record. Here Again is the kind of soaring pop-rock record that was made for the moments that see the frozen ground being thawed and the flowers coming into bloom. It’s a top-down, cruising down the highway kind of record that will last you through to whatever A Will Aways is going to do next. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; with this record, A Will Aways has delivered on the promise that they’ll never be here again. They’re destined for something even bigger and brighter.