With two EPs, two acoustic releases, and a fiercely loyal following on YouTube and around the world, Against The Current have shown the industry and aspiring musicians everywhere that chasing dreams can become a reality. After headlining multiple tours and signing to a major label, how does the band’s first full-length, In Our Bones, harness each member’s sound and talent?
Following this band’s career, I was rather impressed to hear a notable progression with each effort. The first EP, Infinity, was an enjoyable listen, though the songs weren’t particularly ground-breaking and played it rather safe. The band’s next EP, Gravity, revealed more of a glimpse into the trio’s capabilities, weaving through it various sub-genres and taking more risks with its sound. In Our Bones continues this trend, showcasing the band’s strong points while also introducing new musical territory that anyone following Against The Current will be pleasantly surprised to hear.
The album starts off with the hard-hitting “Running With The Wild Things,” taking us on the beginning of our roughly 40 minute journey with Against The Current. We’re given fun, poppier songs like “Forget Me Now,” “One More Weekend,” and “Young & Restless,” but we’re also introduced to more experimental tracks like “Chasing Ghosts,” “Wasteland,” and “Demons.” What makes this album so great for long-time fans is that Against The Current never strays far from its roots, but isn’t afraid to try something new. There are many tracks that would fit perfectly with Infinity and Gravity, and then there are tracks that are uniquely In Our Bones.
This is a testament to how far this trio has come with their musicality and effort. Each track has a unique identity to it, which is stemmed from the unique play-styles of each instrument. Take “Running With The Wild Things” for example: the song begins with an aggressive guitar riff, followed by equally aggressive percussion, and topped with gritty vocals and lyrics to match. Contrast that with “In Our Bones” and its more gentle approach, using primarily an acoustic guitar, easy drumming, lighter vocals, and the gentle pizzicato of the strings. What we have in this album is an example of a band that has reached equilibrium, with each member balancing the other members and presenting a strong cohesion among the instruments.
I would venture that this is largely due in part to the production of Tommy English, whose career is relatively young compared to his colleagues in the industry. However, listening to this album, you would think it was produced by an industry veteran. Each instrument is mixed with such incredible balance and tone, and the subtle inclusions of additional instruments, backing vocals, and harmonies are what push this album from ‘good’ to ‘great’. It’s only a matter of time until Tommy English becomes a household name of this genre alongside Butch Walker and John Feldmann.
Even with the crafting Against The Current and English put into this album, it stumbles just a little bit. The tail-end of the album (notably the last three tracks) doesn’t flow nearly as well as the rest of the album. It could be the beginning riff of “Roses,” and how it sounds like it’s introducing an entire section of the album, which is not something you want from the second-to-last track (although I did enjoy the plot twist in the lyrics — probably the first time I’ve ever said, “Oh snap!” while listening to a song). The album also feels like it jumps to its conclusion rather abruptly, leaving me with a feeling that the album could have benefited with one more track.
That being said, “Demons,” is one of the most satisfying album closers I’ve ever heard. Vocalist Chrissy Costanza’s singing really shines in this track, with the verses reminiscent of Lauren Mayberry’s singing style on the CHVRCHES track, “Down Side of Me,” (from the album Every Open Eye), and the chorus taking on its own life from the rest of the song. Other highlights from this album include “Chasing Ghosts,” “In Our Bones,” and the climax of the album, “Runaway.”
Against The Current has shown that the band has not only mastered familiar territory, but is also willing to take risks (and every one of them pays off). The album is infectious, the songs are memorable, and In Our Bones leaves a lasting impression long after the last note. Listeners can definitely look forward to the band’s next effort, but until then, Against The Current can rest easy knowing all of the hard work put into the band’s first full-length was well worth it.