The Audition, a power-pop quintuplet based out of Chicago, makes its full-length album debut with "Controversy Loves Company," released September 20th, 2005, off indie label Victory Records. The band, made up of bassist Joe Lussa, guitarists Timmy Klepek and Seth Johnson, vocalist Danny Stevens, and drummer Ryan O'Connor, feature an eclectic array of catchy lyrics along with a light blend of guitars, bass, and drums. Before "Controversy Loves Company," The Audition released a demo called "All in Your Head," with a different lead singer and guitarist, most notably Bob from The Hush Sound on Decaydence Records.
The Audition indulges the listener into a world where the emo genre gets a pop makeover. They use non-sensical and gloomy lyrics in songs like "Smoke and Mirrors," and "It's Too Late," and many would expect a sad, slow album, but you feel happy even with the depressing prose from the group labeled as "The Next Big Thing."
"Controversy Loves Company" opens up with "Dance Halls Turn into Ghost Towns," a lack-luster song to open up the album with. It's a very good song, as it combines scintillating lyrics, two hints lust/then I mix some charm with a dash of wits/ add some good looks and then/close the door and dim the lights/, along with the Klepek singing dance/dance/dance. The next song, the single "You've Made Us Conscious," is the cheeriest song with the most obscure and sad lyrics. The chorus is something you'd want to sing along to, as Stevens sings Oh oh oh/look at what we've all tried not to become/another fabricated self-portrait/Oh oh no - take another glance and remember we're the ones/Setting you up to take our fall.
The third song, "Its Too Late," is one of the more melancholy songs as Stevens begins in a serenade style voice, singing about a girlfriend he wants to let go of, and this is evident in the refrain. It's too late, it's too late/I think the tide has come to wash you out/Wash you away from here, Stevens sings twice and then attempts to scream with a synthesizer over his voice, but it should've been taken out. The fourth track, "Approach the Bench," Stevens sings about confessing his sins to his girlfriend. This is not the best song on the album, and while it does have its own unique style, it seems like it had more potential to be a better song.
The fifth song, "The Ultimate Cover Up," is a song about a person who ran away from home and is contemplating what the person left behind. Stevens whines in his pop voice, 2,000 miles, I'm hopeless and broken/You're gutless and hopin' to run into hope/And this isn't getting any easier/They won't understand it/What you've hidden from them/And this isn't getting any easier. The sixth track, "Don't Be So Hard," starts out with Stevens trying to singing in a whiny voice, which doesn't allow the song to hold your attention for long. However, the chorus really picks up and you can really imagine yourself singing along to this song.
The next song, "Lawyers," should probably be their second single off their album. It is one of those songs that is extremely catchy and you can listen to it 100 times and still want to listen to it. Once again, the refrain is probably the best part of the song, especially when Danny sings Stop and breathe/it was just an awful dream. The eighth track, "Rep Your Clique," is a very short song in terms of lyrics, but they repeat the two line chorus four times in the song, and it gets repetitive the fourth time around.
The ninth song, "La Rivalita," is another very well composed song, and it is a little heavier than their other songs on the album. The guitars seem a little louder and there are more power chord progressions than in other songs. This actually sounds really different for them, and it turns out to be successful in a few ways. The song is about a person that is in a world where he or she is completely oblivious to what is really happening and Danny is singing that he'll play the victim and take advantage of the other person. Stevens sings so hit me back, here's another track you can count on losing/So take that, here's our plan of attack so count on bruising.
The last song, "Smoke and Mirrors," is a straight love song about a guy can't get the girl that he wants, no matter how hard he tries. The song talks about how bad he wants to be with the girl, and it goes into great details, with Stevens singing I can't begin to explain this infatuation that I've grown with you /And all that has to do with every moment that I'm here and you're not.
"Controversy Loves Company" is a great album with many hooks and a lot of creative lyrics. The only problems with the album are its lack of song and the repetitive nature of the songs. The album only has ten songs, and if I'm paying twelve or thirteen dollars for it, I might as well get every penny out of it. Also, the lack of diversity can make you feel if you're listening to the same songs with different lyrics. However, the album makes you feel happy and upbeat, which is the exact intention from The Audition.
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