Review by Shannon Shumaker
Survival Guide’s new album Way to Go starts off very dark and eerie with “Ugly Side,” but when the chorus comes in, the song seems to bloom and become bright. The vast differences in sound in just the first song on Way to Go prepare you for the rest of the album, which varies greatly from one track to another, taking you on a journey before the album comes to a close.
Following “Ugly Side” is “Prohibition,” which already feels like it is completely on the opposite end of the spectrum from the first song. “Prohibition” is fuzzy, bright and easy to get lost in, the synth parts almost soothing where they had been eerie in “Ugly Side.” Then, “So Super Slow” comes in, and the feeling of the song is the exact opposite of its title. “So Super Slow” is upbeat, carried by a catchy, simple drumbeat and fuzzy vocals, varying greatly from the mellow and warm “Prohibition.”
As Way to Go progresses, the versatility between songs only seems to become stronger. Actually, as the album goes on, the only complaint I really have is in the production. In many songs, especially “Ugly Side,” all of the instruments and vocals seem to be on the same level, making it hard to decide what to pay attention to, and making the vocals unfortunately get lost at times. There are quiet moments, though, where the vocals really do seem to shine above everything, such as the soft bridge in “Ugly Side.”
On of the strongest songs on Way to Go is easily the super catchy and upbeat track, “Get Your Don’t.” Everything about the song is awesome - from the fun instrumentation to the beautiful vocal melody in the chorus to the smart lyricism. The song itself is just fun to listen to, and the vocal work is very soft and pretty. The following song, “January Shock” is an insane contrast to “Get Your Don’t,” as musically, is is nothing like the song that it follows. Swapping catchy synth parts and fuzzy bass lines, “January Shock” is stripped down with an acoustic guitar, showing just another amazing side to Survival Guide, and the result couldn’t be better when the big, beautiful chorus comes in.
Bringing Way to Go to a strong close is the album’s title track, which is beautiful and haunting, with a jaw-dropping string section and vocal harmonies that blow the rest of the album out of the water. When the album finally comes to an end, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve been on a journey, having heard multiple different sides and sounds to Survival Guide. This album not only serves as a great taste test of all of these different sounds, but also a very versatile and interesting listen.
Listen to "Get Your Don't"