Their debut album had a number of impressive rock songs on them (Broken, The Way I Feel, Soulfire, Running out of Pain) that made you believe this band was gonna strike it big, reaching out to fanbases of 3 Doors Down, Creed, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace & Staind. And on their debut they could absolutely measure up to those bands, and in my opinion they even topped some of those acts in originality and quality. With their follow-up album, however, they kind of hit a sophomore slump; musically at least. The songs weren’t too bad, but a little too predictable. It had a few standout songs (Photograph, Stay, Leaf Loser) but the album was compressed way too much and the lyrics and music didn’t have the same lasting impression the songs on the band’s debut did.
But 12 Stones proved to be resilient as they came back with an excellent third album. “Anthem For The Underdog” showed more maturity and the songwriting was definitely stronger than it was on “Potter’s Field”. The album may have been a little too polished at times, but the songs did speak for themselves. Along with single Lie To Me there were strong tracks like Broken Road, This Dark Day and Adrenaline.
So it felt like this band was on the way back to become one of the more interesting alternative rock bands of today. And with their new EP “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday” the band lets the more polished, mainstream side go a little more and eases back into a more raw and energetic approach, which is what they do best anyway. The opener Welcome To The End is gritty, gutsy and has enough flow to stay interesting. It’s not just bashing on a guitar or shouting out angry lyrics, it’s a combination of melodic rock, roars, clever hooks and aggressive guitar parts. As an opener it sets the tone.
Lead single We Are One was around for awhile and 12 Stones manages to find a nice niche that lies somewhere in the middle of Green Day and 3 Doors Down, but with a serious edge. The song is also a nod, a tribute as you will, to the military men and women protecting the country, but at the same time the lyrics can take on a personal meaning for the listener. For a rock single, this is one of the better ones as of late. Disappear may be the most predictable song on the album. It’s a good song but if it had been on a Three Days Grace or Staind album, or even a Lostprophets album I wouldn’t have been surprised. It’s a solid song, but it’s the song that stands out least on this EP. On Tomorrow Comes Today the band paces down in tempo and intensity in the beginning of the song and the main focus in the song is on the build up as it slowly builds up in intensity. It’s a good song and it would probably make a pretty successful follow-up radio single, but its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. The song sticks with you, which is usually a good thing, but if you hear it too often it has a risk of becoming slightly repetitive. With the changes in intensity and relatability of the song the band does a solid job at trying to prevent that, but it could go either way.
The EP ends with perhaps its strongest song. Enemy is an alternative rock song with creative songwriting, powerful vocals and impeccable timing. The accents in the songs are perfect, the intensity is just right and it has great energy which makes the song very suited for live perfomances as well. This song reminds me of their debut album in a lot of ways, but as the lyrics of this song already say: “so much better!”
“The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday” is a good EP and it continues the strong steps forward this band has been making over the past few years. Some critics will argue the band sounds like others in the genre and I won’t argue that there are obvious similarities, but I think 12 Stones does have an edge on many of the bands in the same genre. They are believable and honest, and you can hear it in their music. Even in their ‘lesser’ songs they manage to come up with a little surprise here and there. To me, that’s a sign of maturity, of a band that has quality and longevity. And regardless of that, it’s a good EP, it features a couple very good rock songs that rock fans will most definitely be able to appreciate. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? I sure think it is.