For an insurmountably long amount of time, it felt like The Graduate went unsigned, and relatively unnoticed by the music population, which was, needless to say, a cultural fallacy. The Graduate's signature sound of airy, and musically-inclined brand of pop-punk is enough to keep listeners intrigued, and for a spot on indie superfest Lollapalooza, as well as being named "Band of the Day" by SPIN back on April 6, 2007. However, after the band's former label MES Records threw in the towel, they were left homeless and unrighteously unattended. Finally, earlier this year they signed with Razor & Tie Records, and later released Only Every Time.
Only Every Time is a sweeping, jarring, and catatonic expression of musical aptitude. The cliche notions of a genre that prides itself on simplicity and style, The Graduate sets the bar just that much higher for pop-punk. However, it feels borderline sinful to box them into one genre after listening. Corey Warning is a solid frontman who uses a purposefully-nuanced tone that croons his way through each track. Warning has the ability to switch pitches from high to low with an effortless ease. His lyrics are fairly melancholic; including tales of loss in a less obvious way than one would expect. A good example is the track "Pull Me In", in which Warning expresses "I'm falling over edges with you, I'm longing just to see your face again", while the background vocals by Matt Kennedy (guitar/keyboard) and Max Sauer (bass) beautifully transcend with "oh's" filling the track.
The most intriguing part of The Graduate is found in the instrumental. The guitar tones are delayed, atmospheric, and unusual, but also have the tendency to use just a tad bit of crunch to qualify as a "riff" to keep the rhythm section moving at the proper BPM. With the ability to craft post-punk balladry during the track "Stuck (Inside My Head)", they can also switch to a more swift and intentional sound on "Don't Die Digging". The percussion by drummer Tim Moore is impeccable, making the shifts in tempo feel natural, but not formulaic or boring. All of the band members are extremely gifted in their instruments, and each note is deliberate with no moments wasted.
Only Every Time was well worth the wait of three years since their last full-length, Anhedonia. The Graduate spent the hiatus crafting and tightening their already wonderful sound, and perfecting, to the best of their abilities, the songs chosen for this album. As a solid candidate for album of the year, they certainly failed to disappoint by any means. My only hope is that there are others that happen to be listening; yourself included. No excuses.
3. Stuck (Inside My Head)
4. Make Believe
5. Pull Me In
7. Halfway There
8. Permanent Tourists
9. All at Once
10. End of the World Delight
11. For the Missing
Formed in the demise of two popular Central-Illinois bands, The Graduate is a collaboration between long time friends Tim Moore, Corey Warning, Matt Kennedy, Max Sauer, and Jared Wuestenberg. After several years of heavy touring in their previous efforts, the band has been able to stir quite a buzz, and has amassed a formidable following that feels more like a family than a fan-base. This quintet has developed their own formula, inspired by such bands as U2, Third Eye Blind, Mute Math, Coldplay, and Death Cab for Cutie.... read more