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Album Review

Set It Off – Upside Down!


Genre defying and truly special.

Label: Rude Records
Released: 7th October 2016

Rating: ★★★

Progressing from a synth-packed pop punk sound to something far grander, Set It Off’s killer production team have drawn influence from hip hop, R&B, rock and pop to create something genre defying and truly special.

Lead single ‘Something New’ treads the line between boyband hit and rock anthem while ‘Life Afraid’ could top the charts with its singalong crowd vocals (think Justin Timberlake’s ‘Senorita’).

The guitar-driven, theatrical ‘Uncontainable’ contrasts with the funky, brass-filled ‘Upside Down’. Juxtaposing an upbeat melody with lyrics about defeating negativity, it’s uplifting with a serious message.

Tracks like ‘Tug Of War’ might put off serious music types and, journeying even further down the pop route, ‘Admit It’ is a slow singalong with breathy vocals and a hard-worked drum machine.

A twinkling piano and rap somehow make sense in ‘Hypnotized’ and the hidden hit sounds like a cross between Zebrahead and Twenty One Pilots at their best. A perfect setup for ‘Never Know (Risk)’, the party sound never falters.

The deep bassline of ‘Me w/o Us’ carries Cody Carson’s polished vocals and ‘Crutch’ showcases the band’s pop sensibilities that shine through without hesitation.

‘Diamond Girl’ even draws in a little 80s pop introduction and the soaring chorus and layered instrumentation lift the love song to greater heights.

Raising important issues while keeping their sound fun and exciting, Set It Off have produced an album that’s alternative pop at its best. Kathryn Black