What Separates Me From You

Ocala metal-core pop-punkers A Day to Remember, are back with an album that will silence any doubters.

The opening track of _What Separates Me from You_, ´Sticks & Bricks’, provides a brutal introduction, setting the tone of anger and emotion that runs throughout. Whilst the first line ‘I have no prior forms of failure’ is perhaps a tad over-confident, vocalist Jeremy McKinnon certainly lets you know that the next nine tracks are going to be no less fierce than this. The message is clear; this album is about scorning the critics and haters, and about showing how far _ADTR_ have come.

This progression, however, only becomes apparent on the following track and first single for _Separates_, ‘All I Want’. Wading through with a fast-paced, yet dark sound, this wouldn’t be out of place on the previous album Homesick. However, ‘All I Want’ offers more than this; it gives the impression of a bigger, more serious sound and a maturity that has sometimes lacked in McKinnon’s lyrics.

The concerns that new guitarist Kevin Skaff might not have been able to match the talents of founding member Tom Denney (who left _ADTR_ after _Homesick_ to focus on his family life), are quelled on ‘It’s Complicated’, offering a pop-dynamic that seems to complete the missing piece of the puzzle on previous albums. An epic breakdown, in between chorus’ that exemplify Mckinnon’s vocal talents (layering powerful harmonies), are followed by a trademark gang vocal outro, that make it difficult to not conjure the image of yourself belting out the lyrics ‘You’re not the person that I knew back then,’ at _ADTR’s_ next show.

The influence of _New Found Glory_ guitarist and producer Chad Gilbert is evident throughout, and the benefit of having such an experienced musician at the helm is clear. A major influence for McKinnon & co, tracks such as ‘Better Off This Way’ and ‘You Be Tails, I’ll Be Sonic’, highlight ADTR’s unique spin on the pure melodic pop-punk of bands like _New Found Glory_, fusing pummelling screaming with sweet, memorable refrain.

_Separates_ may represent to some, the catharsis of McKinnon’s inner-demons and the frustration at the struggles that face bands trying to break into the mainstream. Even for those who don’t buy into this sentimentality, each song offers a hook, whether it’s the sheer brutality of ‘2nd Sucks,’ that when listened to on headphones, gives the impression that a moshpit might encapsulate you at any moment, or the atmospheric guitar-riffs that blend with the stampede of drums in ‘This is the House that Doubt Built’.

‘All Signs Point to Lauderdale’ is the flagship song of the album. Ultimately capturing, that above all the problems that _ADTR_ claim to have faced as a band, they still know how to have fun. Offering everything that pop-punk fans could wish for, no one can accuse ADTR of stepping on the toes of the genre. Instead they have firmly stepped into the genre and climbed to the top, offering more spirit than bands like _All Time Low_ or _Boys Like Girls_ ever could.

The finale of the album, ‘If I Leave’ is catchier than anything on previous album _Homesick_, and will leave you wishing that ADTR had produced more than ten tracks. Consistently brilliant, _What Separates Me From You_ will surely secure ADTR’s position as a respected band that offers a distinctively recognisable sound, driven by genuine heart. Critics should step aside and fans will only hope that they continue to up their game and reach the heights of their idols.


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