Despite its hauntingly slow beginning, “Requiem” is jam-packed with energy, and acts as a perfect start to I Woke Up. Chris McLelland proves to be an unexpected power-house of vocal strength. This is the kind of track it’s easy to imagine being played on a stage at Warped Tour to a crowd who screams the lyrics back to the band, which is a constant image in my mind as the album continues, especially with tracks like “Converging Light and Matter.” “Cliffhanger” maintains the energy of I Woke Up, with a sound reminiscent of old Anberlin tracks that acted as the soundtrack for summer days as they faded into early mornings walking down a hallway (see also “Sandpaper”). The arena-worthy drumming, courtesy of Andrew Echavarria, builds at the bridge, giving an edge to the song that makes it stand out beautifully. This is probably one of the most pop-punk songs I’ve heard throughout all of 2014, although “Suffer” is a very close second. There is an homage to the bands that Nominee has obviously grown up listening to, but without a hint of imitation. Producer Paul Leavitt‘s fingerprints are all over this though, which may just put Nominee at an advantage. Easily my favorite track on I Woke Up, “Without You In Front Of Me” has everything that a quality alternative rock track should have: group vocals, heavy drums, epic guitar parts (Nathan Pozen, Stephen Flynn), and lyrics that demand to be sang loudly at concerts. Definitely a noteworthy track that deserves to be played again and again. Not unlike its predecessor, “Suffer” is a strong tune, showcasing the talent of each member. The instrumental alone contains a surprising amount of energy and power throughout. Bass-dominant (provided by Cameron Kisel) “Sandpaper” has a style to it that makes you want to sway and sing along. With lyrics that read like poetry, and a tone of raw emotion, it’s hard to resist, although the same could be said for each track on the album. “Wreckage” bookends the album brilliantly with rich instrumentals, further solidified by the strings featured. Finishing off I Woke Up with stunning precision, Nominee’s sophomore release proves to be a wonderfully original, well-made addition to the band’s discography. With irresistible style, a dynamic style, and an infectious attitude, Nominee may just be your new favorite band. For more on Nominee, please click HERE.
REVIEW: Nominee – ‘I Woke Up’