The band’s fourth album is easily their most eclectic.
Label: Hopeless Records
Released: 12th January 2018
Tonight Alice have always been striving for balance. From their pointed ‘What Are You So Scared Of?’ that saw them ready to take on the world to the poise and polish of ‘Limitless’ that saw them comfortable in that victory, the band have been unearthing the silver lining for a decade now.
‘Underworld’ does away with the scales. Taking a little bit of everything that’s come before, threading it through new struggles and new hopes, the band’s fourth album is easily their most eclectic. It’s also their most unified.
There’s the knee-jerk rage of ‘Temple’, taking names and running on fumes as Jenna bares her soul without shield before ‘The Other’ continues the long hard look in the mirror, dealing with feelings of alienation within your own body and in the wider world. “I wanna feel, wanna heal, wanna break, want change,” pleads ‘Crack My Heart’ before the churning journey finds shelter in the calm “It’s only growing pains. Nothing is permanent’.
Finding space to return to the anger of their youths while letting the scope and cinema of ‘Limitless’ roll out across the record, ‘Underworld’ sees Tonight Alive constantly change colour and shape. One moment they’re lost in the instant and seemingly ever-lasting turmoil of depression, the next they’re opening up and appreciating the love that surrounds them. Every track has a naked honesty as the band explore the new, embrace the past and apologise for nothing.
‘Last Light’ soundtracks a coming-of-age, doing away with the poetry and speaking directly to the adventure as “we cry and we sing for the life you lived” while ‘Looking For Heaven’ flickers between worlds over driving piano. Elsewhere ‘Disappear’ sees Tonight Alive sat with Lynn Gunn on the porch, their bags packed, they flirt with the idea of escape. Knowing that change is in their hands is sometimes enough.
And that’s where ‘Underworld’ shines. Empowering realisations and small epiphanies still litter the record, lifting and encouraging but the band aren’t weighing themselves down with constant resolution. There’s fun to be had in not knowing all the answers and sometimes just asking the question is freeing enough. Instead of trying to balance every moment of dark with a light, the band accept the flickering uncertainty and dance in the strobe. Ali Shutler