Pennsylvania band About a Mile entered the scene back in 2014 with their Word Records self-titled debut. The Klute brothers released a mildly impressive record with a musical sound often similar to that of Lifehouse. The brothers now return with their follow-up album, Trust You All the Way, with hopes to improve their craft and gain some new followers in the process.
When "Taking Back" kicks in full-bore at the forty second mark, it sounds like About A Mile, surprisingly, is going for an edgier sound than they provided the first time around; there's much more of a rocking sound present. It's a promising start, but the song turns out to be a fluke and a bit out of place given the rest of the album. "Traded" is textbook CCM and begins the super poppy CCM trend that flows throughout most of the remainder of the record, setting the musical backdrop to come. Instead of building off of their first album's highlights, they shifted their overall sound to something much closer to "In With the Out Crowd," or "I Hate Hate." Songs like "Calling Your Name" and "Outrun" are catchy, sure, but they aren't as interesting musically as a song like "SOS (Hope Won't Let Go)" and are a little lacking lyrically when compared to something "Oxygen." As an example, Klute sings, "Let's hang out tonight, you're so busy. I will paint the sky so pretty. You don't have to hide no matter where you go…" in "Outrun. Certainly, no one is asking for some sort of deep spiritual relevance on each and every song, but the lyrics are pretty boring even for a "fun" song. The album gets the most strange when "Born to Live" starts. It's a track that's more akin to Group1Crew than anything else. The all-out dance beat and pseudo-rap make for a confusing spot in the middle of a pretty standard pop rock album; the track just doesn't fit and the genre is outside of the band's wheelhouse. "Undeniable" is the only other song with any sort of rock vibe, but even it is covered with some serious pop production. Aside from "Taking Back," the only other highlights really lie in the piano ballad "Hallelujah" (not the most creative title, but a good listen regardless) and the acoustic closer, "All I Need." These three songs bring back the feel of the debut album and prove that the potential is still there.
Overall, Trust You All the Way could be best classified as a mess. It starts as a rock record, moves on to a standard CCM pop album, hops into a dance and rap joint, before finally closing out with the more Lifehouse-like sound they embodied in the debut. Diversity is a good thing in music, but throwing a bunch of different sounds against the wall to find out what will stick isn't. While that was likely not the goal for the record, it is, however, pretty much how it plays out. Unfortunately, everything takes a step back from the previous release -- especially musically, but even lyrically as well. Trust You All the Way is certainly About A Mile's sophomore slump, but I'm hoping they can pull off something much stronger next time around. As one who was pleasantly surprised with the debut record, this one only spells disappointment. Pop fans will surely find something to enjoy, but even at that, there are better options available. You will need to decide for yourself, but I'd recommend a hard pass here -- just keep your eyes open for About A Mile's return in the future.
- Review date: 10/27/16, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com