The Wedding's Debut Tooth & Nail Release Finds Harmony Between Punk-Rock And Pop"/>
Tooth & Nail
Few things are more tolling on a band than recovering from the loss of a frontman.>"/>
No Direction Tooth & Nail Sept. 25
Tooth & Nail
Few things are more tolling on a band than recovering from the loss of a frontman.
On No Direction, Arkansas punk-rockers The Wedding had to do just that after former vocalist Kevin Keihn got married and decided to depart from the five-piece. In his place, Matt Shelton, formerly of Letter Kills, has jumped in to pick up where things left off and usher in the group's debut album for Tooth & Nail.
Right off the bat I want to be as transparent as possible. I have no idea what The Wedding sounded like pre-Shelton, and I don't want to know. Comparing the two vocalists is unfair to both, as each represent a unique snapshot of the band at different times. What I do know is this: Shelton's gritty edge is perfectly complimented by the band's optimistic and uplifting take on pop, punk and post-hardcore. The opening self-titled track, "No Direction," sets the tone for an upbeat and alternative album akin to early Anberlin, before "In The End" turns everything upside down and introduces heavy guitars, half-yelled vocals and a fairly intense breakdown.
The true stand out, though, is "The Raconteur." I'm a sucker for grizzly, gang-chorus punk with fast dums and distorted guitars. In this case, Flogging Molly without the Irish whiskey. As a whole, the record falls a bit too far into the realm of emotional-pop for me, though this is a perfect fit for T&N and the very reason they aren't signed to Fat Wreck Chords or Hellcat.
It's rare to find a record that is capable of bringing together heavy guitars, raspy-punk vocals and soft, melancholy guitar and turn it into something original and cohesive. Better yet, to do it in the whirlwind of line-up changes. You got my vote, Matt.