In this generation, it’s inevitable for a girl-fronted pop-punk band to be compared to Paramore. And despite this harping figurative bar, The Tonight Life has managed to create a debut full-length that undoubtedly makes them a standout act for the genre. With help from Hidden In Plain View guitarist-turned-producer Rob Freeman, who has worked with the likes of Cobra Starship and Hit The Lights, this North Jersey quartet has released an album chock-full of contagious pop-rock anthems and lush acoustic gems.
The band commands attention with opening track “Carry Me On,” with catchy guitar hooks and pounding drum rhythms that at the least warrant a nod to the beat. The album keeps a steady momentum throughout the 40 minutes of music, alternating between pop-rock tracks and more subtle ballads, all of which highlight brother-sister vocal duo Kim and Joe Crawford. It is tracks like “Catching Fire” and “Living Lies” that show The Tonight Life isn’t simply a bubblegum rock band. They have their moments of gritty passion and heavy instrumentals that carry a lot of musical principle from the pop-punk genre. This passion is carried on perfectly by Kim Crawford who finishes off each song perfectly by morphing her stellar range from fun and poppy to soulful and whimsical. Regardless of vocal tone and style change, she seems to do it with ease, and it easily enthralls the listener.
Although the pop-punk track “Diamond Eyes” reaffirms the dreaded Paramore comparison, the band stands firm in creating their musical mark, experimenting with “Release Me” and the blues-inspired “Right Through You.” Overall, The Tonight Life display musical maturity and desperation to try new things, which at least shows hope that there are acts out there with real star power and the talent to back them up.