by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist –
By emphasizing acoustic guitars as much as electric, Angels Fall offer something unique for modern rock fans. Not unique in a weird, experimental, off-putting way, but they definitely have their own identity. Calling it fresh might be overstating things; calling it refreshing is not. Because while Angels Fall are all about catchy hooks and chart-worthy choruses, they cruise down a commercial path without sounding like crass clones of everyone else on the radio. Even when you detect a dab of Daughtry or a hint of Hinder, it comes across as natural and unforced rather than a calculated attempt at copycatting.
Angels Fall aim for a softer approach than most of their contemporaries, musically and lyrically. While this is definitely rock, it’s a stretch to call it hard rock. Yesterday’s Gone consists primarily of mid-tempo and power ballad tracks, with nary a ballsy barn burner in sight. You won’t hear any of Nickelback’s cock-rock brashness going on here; the acoustic guitars prevent a heavy edge from taking root and Angels Fall write about love and relationships, not lust and rutting. In other words, you won’t find any songs telling chicks they would look better with something in their mouth on this album.
But just because Angels Fall don’t assault your ears with aggressive hard rock doesn’t mean they’re softer than Elton John reading Playboy. These songs might not make you bang your head, but they do indeed rock with tight musicianship and the gravelly-yet-smooth vocals of Joel Jorgensen. The production, while warm and organic, is very much in keeping with the times, imbued with melodic modern rock muscularity. Again, one cannot help but note that Angels Fall resemble current trends, but with their own personal alterations.
Part of their approach is a steadfast refusal to go over the top. These songs are equipped with high-end hooks and the kind of foot-tapping, body-moving catchiness for which most bands would chainsaw their testicles, but they also exhibit restraint and control. You get the feeling that Angels Fall could go bigger with their songwriting if they wanted to, but that’s simply not where their hearts are at.
Some might argue that bigger is always better, but honestly, these tracks are big enough. “Closure” cooks up a strong rock rhythm with a cool chorus that incorporates harmonized backing vocals. “Angel” settles into an enjoyable groove that lets Jorgensen’s powerful vocals shine. The best song is “Drunk Enough” and while the title conjures up party-anthem expectations, it’s actually a big Hinder-style ballad, similar to “Lips of an Angel.” With its lost-love lyrics and lighter-in-the-air hook, the song really sticks with you and if there is any justice in the world, it will soon be a hit. Of course, wishing for justice in the modern rock realm is like hoping to wake up and find the Easter Bunny cooking scrambled eggs while Cupid brews you a cup of cappuccino. Lousy bands sometimes get signed and good bands often go unnoticed. Angels Falls are not the former and they deserve a better fate than the latter.
Angels Falls are different enough to stand out in a market that is more clogged than Rapunzel’s shower drain. Yes, they could be heavier, but that’s not their niche, and their subtler style could work in their favor. The band might be banging around the indie circuit right now, but it is very possible that you will soon be saying their name in the same breath as Nickelback or Saving Abel. Not because they’re the same exact thing…but because they’re not.
Genre: Modern rock
Joel Jorgensen (vocals, guitars)
Ben Jindra (bass, vocals)
2. Call on Me
5. Drunk Enough
6. Goodbye to You
7. Something New
8. Somewhere I Belong
9. Too Late
11. Yesterdays Gone
Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10