A Day To Remember have a reputation for keeping their music predictably unpredictable. Rooted in a fusion of hardcore and pop-punk, the band has always veered into other genres. With You’re Welcome, the band enters its most musically diverse territory yet. Sure, the riffs are still there, along with the screams peppy and sometimes humorous pop-punk. If you’ve heard the singles that preceded the album, you may presume the band is sticking strictly to that sound. But the detours are more surprising and varied than any record in the band’s catalog.
The album kicks off with a duo of melodic yet aggressive songs in “Brick Wall” and “Mindreader.” The beauty of A Day to Remember is their ability to throw a curveball, even within a song that fits in with their sound. The bridge of the latter, when the song shifts to the percussive claps and vocalist Jeremy McKinnon repeating the refrain, “Mind-mind-mindreader,” is a brief detour, but it’s so infectious and memorable that it makes the trip worth it.
“Bloodsucker” mixes several musical styles into the proverbial stew. The track mixes a Spanish-style acoustic guitar on the intro with melodic pop, electronica and hard rock. The styles mix and transition in a way that feels natural and unforced.
“Last Chance to Dance (Bad Friend)” is the most direct nod to the band’s early days, marked by ferocious hardcore riffs and McKinnon’s signature growl screaming, “No one will bury your casket.” The song isn’t all heaviness, however. A Day to Remember still mixes in a big melodic chorus.
The fun and upbeat “FYM” provides another musical surprise with an ’80s-inspired melodic intro that sounds like it was inspired by The Police. McKinnon sings about paying your dues and the dreams of getting away from it all, if only he could earn some “Fuck you money.” “I’d leave today/ I’d change my number, wouldn’t hesitate,” McKinnon sings. It almost feels like an afternoon daydream.
Mid-tempo rocker “High Diving” tackles everyday stresses of life and taking a moment to step back when things become too much. “There’s a weight inside my head/ Like a cannon firing from both ends/ The static I’m drowning in/ Seems like it never ends,” McKinnon sings over a heavy bass-driven groove.
“Resentment” serves up a helping of what ADTR absolutely excels at: a fusion of aggression and melodic sensibility. The synth-led verses blow up into the riff-driven soaring choruses. Add in the guttural screams on the bridge and you have all the ingredients for a classic A Day to Remember track. While not on the album, the acoustic version of this track provides a take that’s just as compelling take on this song.
“Looks Like Hell” takes a darker turn. The mid-tempo rocker is equal parts samples and riffs, with a haunting piano melody to boot. The band uses synths sparingly throughout the album, and they are effective and don’t overtake the song when they do.
“Viva La Mexico” describes a wild trip south of the border that includes getting drunk and hiding from the cops. It’s an upbeat and fun track with a pop-punk vibe and heavy rhythm. “Only Money” then veers into introspective territory with a story about loss, family and the memories along the way. McKinnon looks back on a call telling him that his grandmother had died. He then travels back in time through his musical memories tied to her.
Following the upbeat “Degenerates,” the hard-charging “Permanent” and “Re-Entry” offer up another dose of fist-pumping rock that will have fans singing along.
The record concludes with “Everything We Need,” a straightforward acoustic number. Despite making their name in heavy music, ADTR can still write a memorable ballad. “I’m doing a buck twenty on I-75/ Just to see if I’m dead or alive,” McKinnon sings, tempting the devil.
A Day To Remember push their own musical bounds on You’re Welcome, and it’s likely that fans will welcome the experimentation as well. Those looking for only heavy guitar riffs and screaming aggression may want to look elsewhere, but those willing to take a musical journey will be rewarded.
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.