September 6, 2005
This song appeared on the “Mayfield [EP]” and we already noticed the potential in this song. The new album version has a better production and is properly mixed and comes out as a great alternative pop song.
The slightly alternative song Bullets is something that really is of my liking. I like its energy, it’s agressiveness (not agression) and it’s passionate perfromance. Augustana combines their melodic and rhythmic qualities in this song perfectly. Great live song too.
The gentle Hotel Roosevelt has a great, dynamic interaction between the guitar, drums and vocals and builds up to a great climax. The chorus is a burst of energy that comes out of the gentleness and would make for a great set opener during live shows.
We heard a previous version of Boston on Augustana’s demo album and already it had a lot of potential. The band cleaned up the song and revamped it into a song that’s ready to be an instant hit. The piano-vocal dynamic with the passionate and emotional feel makes this a song that radio will embrace, and if I’m not mistaken, so will the fans.
Stars & Boulevards
Stars & Boulevards is a great piano-driven, uptempo pop song that makes for singing and moving along. With very strong lyrics, great vocals and a tight instrumental back up, this song could do very well on radio.
An older version of this song appeared on the “Mayfield [EP]” and though I could see the potential in this song I thought that version wasn’t very amazing. I don’t think it’s because of my criticism, but the band seems to have listened and made something nice of this song. It’s not the best song on the album, but it makes a decent album track with a nice U2-like feel.
The piano intro to Wasteland with the fragile vocals give a nice touch to this song. What Augustana does really well is build up to the climax in this song. And lyrically this song is also quite sophisticated. “The hour stops the sunlight/And the buildings shade the masquerade and kill time”
I’m not a big fan of Lonely People but when I heard it live I have to admit the energy and very solid rhythm section give this song something extra. On the album the song doesn’t really stand out as much as it does live though. This is generally the case with Augustana, who are a much better band than this album gives them credit for. The album is good, but when you see them live you’ll see what I mean. They really do something extra then.
Sunday Best is the best song on the album. The acoustic guitar melody with the gentle vocals that go uptempo, guided by subtle drums lead this song into something that sounds just right for the band. With some piano on top of it everyone does their part. It makes for great singing along, can be performed with energy and intimacy. This is one of those songs you cherish as a fan.
The post-grungy California’s Burning doesn’t really do it for me. It’s a nice effort but it sound more like something a band like Our Lady Peace or Athlete would pull off. It doesn’t really feel like Augustana. Other than that the song isn’t bad, just not the right song for this band.
Coffee & Cigarettes
I absolutely love the guitar melody in this song, but the vocals sound a bit weird. I know the way they sound on here was done on purpose, though I’m not sure for what reason. But it doesn’t work for me. The song itself is pretty clever though. And you can’t really judge this song until you heard it live, because like with every song, Augustana live is a whole different ballgame.
After a few years of trying, Augustana has eased into their place. They are able to write, create and perform melodic pop/rock tunes, often piano-driven, that people can easily relate to and that are good ear candy. They have much more energy than the studio versions give the songs credit for, take that from me, and though the songs sometimes start to sound alike, this is an album that is well worth your money.