Arriving on the heels of their Life on the Run sampler – a mere five months old – itʼs audibly clear that Tempe-based pop quartet The Season Premiere are evolving at an exponential rate. The musicians responsible for 2008ʼs Put Up Shut Up have vanished without a trace, leaving in their wake For All The Lovers, a chic collection of polished pop tunes that will make heads within hearing range bob along.
At surface level, FATL has gorgeously disguised itself as a happy-go-lucky record filled to the brim with smash hits sure to be vibrating through the stereos of cars cruising along on warm summer nights. Taking the plunge, however, will reveal profound lyrical compositions, depicting sobering tales of deception, betrayal, and loneliness.
Riley Knapp kicks off album opener “Anything But Love” with an ominous drum intro, emphatically queueing the rest of the band to join in. While rather simplistic musically, the sporadic guitar noodlings of Travis Wilson keep things interesting, as does a veiled lyrical fantasy involving the murder of an unappreciated lover (a feeling many can relate to), and a dangerously catchy chorus that will have listeners humming along hours after the record stops spinning.
“Ulterior Design” swiftly aims to obfuscate the mood with swirling synths eerily sweeping about the verses as frontman Justin Garza paints a grisly picture of a tumultuous relationship erupting into an abrupt and bitter end. Throughout the entire track, Garza showcases his vocal versatility and prowess, particularly during the hard-hitting pre-chorus and second verse. Meanwhile the full band really lets loose during the bridge and chorus, with gang vocals and harmonies painstakingly placed and begging to be sung along to.
Possibly the low point of the album, “Two Years Late” features sleek guitar riffs, rigid drumming, and sharp vocal melodies reminiscent of The All-American Rejects most recent effort. Unfortunately the tune comes off too formulaic and timid amongst the experimentation and exploration contained within the four remaining tracks.
As the lone ballad, “If I Was A Fire” resets the overall tone of the album, and sits perfectly as the penultimate track. Rock steady drumming, fantastic guitar orchestration, and stellar harmonies all compliment a hair raising chorus. Much like their 2010 single “Winter Doubt”, “Fire” throws the window wide open for the whole world to peer through, placing Garzaʼs innermost thoughts and feelings on display unlike any other track on the album.
Appropriately rounding out this extended play is “Heart of the Matter”, cataloging the catastrophic effect being alone can have, and the inner struggle to remain optimistic. As individuals and a unit, the band come together in the tightest musical performance of the album. Garza delivers each line with beautiful precision, Knapp and bassist Terrence Wilson compliment each other nicely with crisp drumming and grooving basslines that provide a perfect rhythm on top of which Travis layers superb leads.
Overall, this was a solid effort by a young band in the throes of serious growing pains, who managed to put out a decent record in spite of the high-hurdles set before them. For All The Lovers does leave something to be desired (clocking in a hair under 16 minutes), especially when considering the limited catalog they currently possess, but fear not, for this is certainly not the last the world will hear from The Season Premiere, and itʼs a fairly safe bet to say they arenʼt ready to quit talking yet, either.