For record label Tooth & Nail Records, they have built their name around the rock and alternative scenes with bands such as Anberlin, Emery, Further Seems Forever, and Sent By Ravens becoming favorites to name a few. However, when something special comes along you don’t pass up the chance to have a special artist or band on your label regardless of past traditions and that is what seems to have happened when LOYALS inked their deal and released their impressive and addicting debut record this past week.
LOYALS have been on the road recently twice supporting Emery and on this most recent run As Cities Burn was on the bill. Being such a young band and having years of experience on the road with you can pay off in big ways, not to mention both bands being on the same label as they are in the past. (Solid State Records is a subsidiary label under Tooth & Nail Records)
Infectious Pop With Replay Value
There are many different sounds on this debut from LOYALS yet through all the diversity and style changes, it seamlessly flows together. The album has 12 tracks which for many bands these days, getting through 12 tracks can seem like a challenge but at times, LOYALS have you hitting the repeat because the record seems to just end right when it starts.
The thing with the trendy 80s pop comeback is that everyone is trying to fit into a mold but it falls short by being shallow and empty outside of some cool sounds. This record brings that 80s flair while morphing at times into modern chillwave pop. (Think Chase Atlantic/PVRIS/The Neighbourhood). The guitars seem to compliment the layers of sound vs just being the focus. They find their place and sit in the empty spaces rather than being the center of attention which is nice to hear.
While it is known that bands like The 1975 have sort of steered the way for this style to come up and seep into every genre, steering the ship doesn’t mean lasting power. Personally, LOYALS takes those concepts on their debut and outshines and puts a new twist on them. It comes down to the vocals for this to break away. Frontman Dane Allen has a full sound in his voice that he can play with to fit the diversity on this record. Even the track ‘Skyline’ seems to have a new wave country vibe to it vocally, think Dan + Shay, and it fits so well. That’s expected in a way as the band is from Nashville, TN.
Deep Cuts & Deep Thoughts
Where every record has their singles, each will have the deep cuts that may get looked over more so than the focal tracks. With LOYALS, the whole record feels like it could be one long single as very few songs stick out. While that’s usually a bad thing, the diversity of sounds allow that to be positive. Unlike most throw away songs or overlooked tracks, these all have some things lyrically we can take away.
Some songs seem to be self-reflection on life, ‘Hold On’, while others seem to question a lost love or relationship, ‘IDC’, while other times may seem to be questioning where they stand with God, though not directly referenced, ‘Never Too Far Gone’ or ‘Gone’. Though if this is true, I wouldn’t quite throw the ‘Christian’ label on them just yet despite being on a label known for having Christian themed bands.
This is a strong debut for LOYALS and it has a strong lasting power through the rest of the year. The one weakness about releasing an album this early is it can get lost in the shuffle of the other releases coming later. I do think it has staying power because of the genre it is in, meaning it’ll bring refreshing sounds when the same old same old gets over saturated. We highly recommend picking this record up or at least streaming it.