The Sophomore Slump is a very real and measureable thing that looms before every new band: the almost certainly doomed second album. There’s never any guarantee of safety for anyone – not The Doors, not The Who, not Arcade Fire, and most certainly not MGMT. For some, it’s a slight downward dip from the genius of their opening act to the level of ‘still pretty fantastic’. But for more, it’s their seemingly Deus Ex Machina powered debut sputtering out under the pressures of touring, of turning out a face melting follow-up, or simply admitting their drug-addled fledgling effort was a one-off. So if Reversing Falls needed a gap year or three to get their heads screwed on, who can blame them? Their second album has been worth the wait, and instead of a slump, it makes their debut look more like a warm-up.
The Saint John-born/Montreal-based Reversing Falls’ sequel Reversing Falls 2, weighs in at 9 songs and 22 minutes. They’ve skipped the slump, and instead have overcome any learning curve to produce something tighter and shinier, and significantly improved upon the sound of their first album. There’s not a song on there over 3 minutes, but instead blazes through with some very condensed but satisfying bite-sized hits, without an ounce of filler.
The album seems to embody the best parts of the ’90s with all of its grungy angst, its self-loathing heart ache, polished up, and coated in a tasteful fuzz. It leaves an impression of revisiting the soundtrack of some maligned youth. The lines ‘straighten up/straighten up/straighten up/settle down/settle down/settle down’ from the opening track ‘This Is Why’ get repeated like the broken record mantra of so many parents and teachers, followed by the natural response of ‘We’re just too high to decide’.
Far from being a moody downer though, or even touching on the edges of emo, Reversing Falls 2 is an undoubtedly upbeat album. Despite its angst-ridden anthems, and themes of suffering through growing pains while getting wasted on the way, the album feels like songwriter Tyler Crawford secretly revels in these things, like some strange manic upswing in the face of disaster. Maybe it’s hard to really feel bad when you’ve made an album this good. Reversing Falls 2 sounds like an early contender for our favourite album of 2016.
For more information check out Reversing Falls’ Facebook page.