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REVIEW | Tonight Alive’s “Limitless”

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by Jordan Narloch

Limitless is Tonight Alive going through an identity crisis and coming out strongly on the other side. “Don’t come looking for me, I don’t wanna be found. I just wanna run away and learn to be free,” Jenna McDougall sings on the opening track. This is an apparent declaration that this album is not going to fit your expectations, and that’s exactly how the band wants it to be. After falling in love with the band after their energetic punk-influenced set three years ago, I expected Limitless to bring back nostalgic memories. Instead, I discovered a new band. No less talented, but a different one by the same name, possibly influenced by McDougall’s recent obsession with Alanis Morissette.

The new record is a pop record, whether you like it or not. Rather than keeping the trend of writing songs that melt your mind with their intricate guitars or make you air-drum on your way to class, the band focuses on writing melodies to get stuck in your brain. If you are searching for something somewhat familiar, “To Be Free,” and “How Does It Feel,” are going to be your best bets. Although filled heavily with electronics, guitars are still the driving force. Aside from those two, the album largely shifts the focus over to electronic production. For example, “Drive” is the perfect song to blast at your summer gatherings with its heavy synth lines and sunny overtones. The real shift in focus however, is to McDougall’s vocals, which shine more than ever. “Oxygen,” and “Human Interaction,” showcase her range while carrying on with the one thing that remains truly familiar about the album, the overwhelming positivity. The latter track comes from a dark place, but ends with a line destined for tattoos and passionate sing-alongs, “But I will be better…” The album is empowering as ever and although it may come off as cheesy in places (“Power of One”) it is perfect for getting anyone through a tough time.

Ultimately, Limitless doesn’t sound like Tonight Alive but it at least feels like them, a similarity missed by other acts that have transitioned to the mainstream, such as Fall Out Boy. They stay focused on the core message they aim to project, but do with so with a “less is more” attitude. Limitless is a well-produced pop record that breaks the mold. Whether they broke into the right territory is for you to decide, but it would be hard to discourage the band’s bright sense of enthusiasm about the new direction.

 

 

 

 

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