The Blackout - The Best In Town

Proof that they are worthy of joining the ranks of the bands they once simply admired.

Label: Warner

Rating: 8

Very few bands in the post-hardcore genre make it out of the quagmire of the thousands of bands populating myspace that are part of the scene. However when listening to a band from this genre’s album, it’s surprisingly easy to tell if a band is ready to join the big leagues of the likes of Lostprophets, Funeral For A Friend and Taking Back Sunday (circa 2006), or if they’re better suited to slumming it with the MySpace haircuts and the 200-capacity clubs.

This is where The Blackout’s new album ‘The Best In Town’ comes in. Their debut, ‘We Are The Dynamite’ reeked of the latter-category, right down to the standard bikini-clad model on the front cover. But one hearing of the new album instantly shows that the band are about to graduate to the major league that is populated by so few bands in the genre. From the self-assured singalong of ‘Save Our Selves (The Warning)’ to the You Me At Six-guesting ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ this album is a whole lot more mature than their amateurish debut, and is far above the bog-standard screamo affair.

However, there are still a few dodgy tracks. Opener ‘ShutTheFuckUppercut’ perfects the simple screamo song, so there’s really no need for tracks like ‘The Fire’ and ‘Said & Done’ dragging down the mid-section of the album to a repetitive crawl. But when the band venture out of their comfort zone, they ironically hit their stride. Cheesy, lighter-waving ballad ‘Top Of The World’ turns out to be surprisingly touching, and the strutting hard-rock of ‘I Love Myself And I Wanna Live’ is catchier than most of the other bands following in The Blackout’s footsteps and hanging onto their coattails.

This album is most definitely a triumph. ‘Evolution’ is a word used in almost 100% of press release’s describing band’s sophomore albums, but The Blackout have actually managed to show a clear development, dragging them out of the masses of Welsh post-hardcore bands and proving that they are worthy of joining the ranks of the bands they once simply admired.