Reviewed by Stephen Krock
After a two year hiatus, Philly based rock band, The Escape has returned with the aptly titled EP, New Direction. As professed on the group’s official website, they spent their time away writing and reinventing themselves. Rather than touring the country and “bathing in gas station bathrooms.” So, right away, you know they make good decisions. The slate is clean, the outlook fresh and New Direction holds as much heft and excitement as a debut album.
The first two tracks tell you what to expect for most of what is to come. The songs divide into two teams: the “happy and hopefuls” and the “screw yous.” However, neither type rocks any less than the other. The Escape keeps your pulse up throughout. As one of the more upbeat songs, “The Will To Survive” is great start. If I had been inside a car when I heard it, I would have taken the top down and raised my fist in triumph. Lyrically, New Direction is decent. There is a lot of stating “exactly how I feel and here’s why,” with the occasional slice of brilliance. Such as in the second track, “Falling Down”: “You live a life of lies / You hide the truth inside / Tangled in a web you spun / Pull a thread, it comes undone.” One guess which camp this one falls into. Similarly, the instrumentals maintain an adrenaline pumping beat, thought at times it can get a bit predictable. Especially to fans of Fallout Boy or Panic! at the Disco. Again, though, there are more interesting bits sprinkled here and there. Particularly in the guitar work in the fourth track, “Pull It Together”.
While all the songs got my blood racing, I worried that New Direction would soon grow stale. Then I was pleasantly surprised by the last track, named after the EP itself. The song, “New Direction”, is pretty close to perfect. Its acoustic backdrop is organic and refreshing, but packs no less of a punch than the songs that precede it. Thanks in no small part to the strong, meaty vocals, which is an advantage The Escape has over the aforementioned bands, who both can come off nasal and whiny. The words are simple, but relatable. “Every day’s the same / I need to get away / I need to start planning my escape / I’m looking for the door / ‘Cause I want something more.”
Indeed, this last song does leave you wanting more. This new direction The Escape is taking seems to be the right one.
You can see The Escape at their CD Release Show this Saturday, April 13, 2013, 9:00 PM at The North Star Bar.