Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Album Review: All At Risk - s/t

Band: All At Risk
Release Date:
Feb 19, 2010


  1. I'm Sorry (For The Last Time)
  2. Forever (I Need You)
  3. My Everything
  4. Here's To You
  5. The Other Side
  6. Not My Life
  7. Falling For You
  8. Nothing Left
  9. The Fight
  10. Through The Fire

All At Risk is an unsigned Denver-based pop-punk band that recently released their debut full-length in February. The self-titled album features 10 tracks recorded at Side 3 Studios in downtown Denver and can be purchased online at itunes.

Poppy punk-rock might be a dying genre, maybe punk-rock altogether, but a few bands are staying true to their roots and the music they love, and one of those bands would be All At Risk. Based in the Mile High City, All At Risk features singer/song writer Jared Phifter, Jon Davis on drums, Jeff Manning on bass and Ben Jenkins on guitars. Jared and Jon have played music together for the past 10 years, first in the band Fallenshort and now with All At Risk. Their chemistry is evident throughout the album.

For an unsigned band All At Risk have the sound of veterans, putting in years of hard work and do-it-yourself effort to rise in the Colorado music scene. A few things have stayed consistent through the years though; they’re love for a positive, poppy punk-rock sound and their faith in Christ. Although they list bands like MxPX and Blink-182 as influences, they sound more like Broadway Calls and New Found Glory, with more focus on singing and quality song writing and not just blasting through songs at high-speed.

This record jumps right out of the gate with an upbeat track called “I’m Sorry (for the last time)” and “Forever (I Need You)”, two tracks with energy and speed. I love the fact that songs have multiple elements to them, a variety of drumming and aren’t just resigned to 4-chord predictable song structure. Jared has a unique sounding voice with a raw, unfiltered (and un-autotuned!) sound that quickly grows on you. Forever has a guitar riff that reminds me of Blink-182 during the Dude-Ranch days though I doubt we’d catch Blink singing about the sacrifices that Jared sings about on this track.

The third track has a special meaning behind it, but you’ll figure that out pretty quickly after Jared sings the question: “will you wear this ring?”. His proposal to his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) will be played over and over for years to come. The track slows way down for ending setting up the next few tracks as the slower part of the album.

“Here’s To You” could be a song for any graduation, looking back on the good times, a solid ballad with a catchy singalong chorus. “Not My Life” is my favorite track on the record, but that’s probably the metal-fan in me. It’s easily the heaviest track on the record, fast-paced and crunching guitars, for 2:00 minutes All At Risk let their hair down and rocked out.

There’s two final upbeat punk songs with “Nothing Left”, which takes off at a blistering pace before settling into one of the best tracks on the album and “The Fight” which features some solid guitar work. The last track of the album is a subdued “Through the Fire”, a slower, more serious song, fitting for the closer.

Overall I think this is a great effort by the band. The production quality is solid for an unsigned band with good low-end and clear vocals. My biggest complaint about the album would be the track order, the record starts off so upbeat and energetic but after the first two tracks the feel really dies down. The energy really doesn’t pick up again until track 6, and I realize that every album has slower songs but it just feels a little early in the track-order on this one. I do love the fact that from start to finish you get solid tracks, no intro tracks or interlude stuff, just 10 solid songs. Grab this album and blast it in your car, don’t be ashamed to sing along!

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