Throughout their career, The Summer Set have experimented with different sounds. Their pop-rock debut, Love Like This (2009) was followed by their emo-pop sophomore release, Everything’s Fine(2011), which was a step forward lyrically, but a step to the side in terms of sound. But despite having commercial success with both records, the Summer Set have yet to find something that works for them — something that bridges the gap between their bratty, no-parents-no-rules debut and broken heart-fueled second release. Legendary delivers the pop feel of Love Like This and the lyrical content of Everything’s Fine.
Finally, The Summer Set know who they are.
Legendary is a huge leap in the pop direction and it completely works for the band. Frontman Brian Dales’ voice seems less forced and I get a sense of a mini-Maroon 5 being formed — a pop band that actually plays their instruments.
Songs like “Jukebox (Life Goes On)” and “Lightning In A Bottle” are begging to be singles with their catchy hooks and upbeat tempos, but their current single “Boomerang” wins the award for best chorus: (“If I was Jay-Z, you’d be my Beyoncé, we could rock the nation like they do/And if I was da Vinci, you’d be Mona Lisa, paint a smile perfectly on you/And if I was James Dean, you could be my Audrey, Breakfast at Tiffany’s for two.”)
“Heart On The Floor” featuring NBC’s The Voice contestant Dia Frampton is the record’s stand-out track. Frampton’s delicate voice pairs perfectly with Dales’ powerful vocals. It’s also a nice ode to Love Like This, where Frampton and Dales collaborated on the slow jam, “Where Are You Now.” Back together again, the two pack a powerful punch in a poppy ballad about an anti-heartbreak situation. (But unlike all the others I won’t jet the morning after/I won’t go dropping your heart on the floor.)
Songs like “Someday” and “The Way We Were” are well written lyrically, but don’t have nearly as many catchy lines as others and will get lost in the shuffle, whereas “7 Days” is rather repetitive and comes off as annoying. It’s a guaranteed skip. The album’s title track “Legendary” is the perfect album-ender, finishing off the record with Dales desperately saying, “We all wanna be legendary to somebody.”
After listening to this record on repeat quite a few times I have no reason to doubt that this group will become legends soon enough.