Having only two independent EPs to the band's name, it would almost seem as if Tooth & Nail was merely taking a chance on rock band Write This Down. I'm definitely not saying that that's the case, but regardless, it ends up being a rather good deal, as Write This Down's self-titled debut album is pretty solid, only using a handful of songs from their EPs, giving the listener a total of ten brand new tracks.
I know it's overly stated that you can't judge a book by its cover (or, in this case, an album), but Write This Down serves as a good reminder. Johnny Collier, Nate Rockwell and Chad Nichols make it hard to look at the album cover and pinpoint what kind of style of music you're about to listen to. And, honestly, even as you're going through it song by song, you can't actually define it as a whole with just one genre. Some of the songs are just pure rock songs, while others dabble around in a little pop punk-flavored alternative, and there's a bit of screaming, too. There's also traces of emo thrown in here and there, while "Heaven and Hell" is strictly acoustic. It's very much a mixed bag of songs, but they all seem to flow very well together, and it never really feels random or haphazardly tossed together.
All that being said, if you've heard the album's first single, "Renegade," and decided you didn't like it, you still may find something on Write This Down that you'd enjoy. If you haven't, expect a solid rock performance complete with some screaming in the chorus (it's actually pretty well-written straight rock music, and it follows a couple other good ones as well, "Alarm The Alarm" and "Despite Your Valour"). "Redemption" follows suit, reminding me a lot of the recently-returning Staple. If that's not your thing, the alternative stuff I mentioned appears in "I Never Said I Was Through With You" and "Center of Attention." The former is like if Sullivan and Thousand Foot Krutch morphed into one band, the latter of which is more like All Time Low and maybe a little Taking Back Sunday.
There's a lot to like about Write This Down, as whatever style they're going after is well-done on their part, and all the vocals and instrumentation are rather strong and fitting. My only complaint is that, while it's easy to mention other bands to give a general idea of the sound, there are a few instances where some riffs, vocal patterns or other pieces of a song's structure almost seem copied and pasted into their own song. But, thankfully, the entire album itself doesn't come off as just one big carbon copy.
Until this album, I was beginning to think that Tooth & Nail should stick to bands with more of an alternative edge than just the straight rock bands. Now that they've signed Write This Down, I'm starting to have more faith in their signings of rock bands. Hopefully they can find more as good as Write This Down, whose debut release is a breath of fresh air for fans of rock, and would be a good place to go for fans of bands like Dizmas and Staple.
- Review date: 4/13/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com