Tonight Alive have done their fair share of genre hopping over the course of three studio albums. The Sydney five-piece have dabbled in every shade of jagged alt rock and girl-next-door pop punk there is, but their fourth offering couldn’t be more of a departure from previous material. Their intentions for the album are clear: to be limitless by name and nature. But the misstep is in the execution, resulting in sound that bears little resemblance to their previous efforts. At best, ‘Limitless’ is an overly ambitious re-invention. At worst, it’s a terribly misjudged collection.
Frontwoman Jenna McDougall demonstrates an odd penchant for combining erratic melodies with sorrowful lyrics, which results in a distasteful musical theatre sound. This blunder is only worsened by her bizarrely melodramatic vocals- a side of her voice previously unheard. Lyrically, she only skims the surface of the ‘liberated’ feeling that the album attempts, and therefore lacks the substance to create a genuine feeling that people can connect with.
The band go little way to compensate this; once the driving force of TA’s sound, they’ve now faded into the background, settling on characterless and generic stadium-rock arrangements, while the production tries for an otherworldly sound with intergalactic soundscapes. The latter may be the biggest disappointment of all, considering the album’s producer David Bendeth is responsible for significant Bring Me The Horizon and Paramore albums.
The brief interventions of Evanescence-inspired 'How Does It Feel?’ and battering rager ‘I Defy’ are welcome reminders of the angst-ridden alt-rock Tonight Alive offered on predecessor ‘The Other Side’. However, it’s bittersweet as the listener is left lusting for more of the same.
Words: Lisa Henderson
- - -
- - -