This may come as a surprise to many of you checking out this review, but I’ve never really listened to Asking Alexandria before. I’ve heard of them, for sure, seen their name on tour and festival bills but just never had them in my headlights. That’s actually the main reason I picked this album out of the pile for review. They’ve had a bunch of albums in their 10 year history, including three that have been top ten on release in the Billboard charts, so someone must like them.
Well, add me to that list. See What’s On The Inside is accessible, radio-friendly (on the main) alt-rock with a bit of a metal edge to it. Whether this is in line with their older stuff I can’t say, but it makes for a nice easy listen, as well as something you can really kick back and wallow in. It’s nicely singalong in places, too, such as the chorus to “If I Could Erase It”. Off the top of my head, I’d cite Bullet For My Valentine and Pop Evil as the two bands that Asking Alexandria remind me of the most, with perhaps some of the emo trappings of My Chemical Romance.
Every song is a rocker, though they’re not samey with the likes of “Find Myself” in particular showing a more melodic side. It provides a fairly gentle break in the middle of the album – at least partly. I’d actually say that its softer sections make the more rousing ones hit even harder than they would otherwise. From the laid back intro it punches once, twice then really builds to an emotive crescendo. Some may say “overproduced”. I say “if you’ve got the cash and know how to spend it, go for it”.
As a pleasant surprise, What’s On The Inside didn’t even take a ton of listens to get into. There are so many bits where you just want to nod your head or throw in a little air guitar. “Misery Loves Company” has loads of these, as does the driving album closer “The Grey”.
Overall, this is a solid listen all the way through with a few real pearls in there. Album of the year material? Nah, not for me. But if this is the sort of fare that existing fans are used to then I can’t see them being disappointed. Now… how many albums do I have to catch up on?
See What’s On The Inside is out on October 1st