Australia’s very own pop-punk sweethearts, Tonight Alive, have just returned with their newest body of work in the form of Underworld (out now via UNFD). Less than two years following the release of their last album, Limitless, which saw some particularly mixed reviews, Underworld comes following the departure of former guitarist Whakaio Tahi late last year to pursue writing and producing outside of the band. We took a dive into Tonight Alive’s underworld.
The album opens strongly with ‘Book Of Love’, which is the perfect mix of everything Tonight Alive fans loved of the band’s back catalogue. Underworld feels like it picks up from where Limitless left off, with a feeling of contentment, whilst musically throwing it back to the band’s early heavier rock sound and frontwoman Jenna McDougall’s infamous “Woah-oah, woah-oah”’s, thrown in there to really catch your attention on this singalong track.
Onto the album’s lead single, ‘Temple’, this is a song that has proven to be particularly popular with its catchy, yet relatedly honest lyrics. ‘Temple’ throws it back to a less heavy sound, in a way that could perhaps be comparable with some of the tracks off the band’s predeceasing album, Limitless, making for a track that’s sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners – including new fans for sure. This track has gained rave reviews since its release, and having also experienced it live, it’s not hard to see why.
Temple leads into Underworld’s most recent single, ‘Disappear’, featuring PVRIS’s Lynn Gunn. ‘Disappear’ dives in head-first to an upbeat, feel-good song, not too dissimilar to some of Tonight Alive’s ever-popular early work. ‘Disappear’ is the kind of song you’d stand in front of your mirror singing into your hairbrush to – and have a great time doing so.
‘The Other’ moves into a new sound for the Sydney natives. Oozing confidence, sass, fun, and really showing the band’s growth, this is a standout track on the album, while ‘In My Dreams’ feels somewhat like a mashup between ‘How Does It Feel’ and ‘The Greatest’ off their previous album. An interesting combination, but it works and it remains very ‘Tonight Alive.’
‘For You’ sticks to that same formula of breaking new ground, whilst continuing to pay homage to the things that have worked for Tonight Alive in the past. It’s one of those songs that can’t fail to improve your mood, a bit like a more upbeat version of Limitless’ ‘The Greatest.’
Jumping straight back to another high energy track, ‘Crack My Heart’, the record’s latest single, returns back to the heavier rock sound of early Tonight Alive, whilst again showcasing the growth and maturity of McDougall lyrically. This track makes for another crowd-pleaser, and one that is sure to be a treat to rock out to live.
One of the heaviest songs of the band’s entire catalogue, ‘Just For Now’, again secures that perfect balance between new and old, and rock and pop. This is another track which is sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners, while ‘Burning On’ shares some advice that we can all take on board, with lyrics reminding us all that “you have spent your life avoiding pain, but beauty lies in that which is not safe.” A catchy song, which will surely make for a solid staple to the band’s future setlists – and perhaps your own car karaoke playlists!
‘Waiting For The End’ holds true to the band’s classic sound, although heavy, it may be the most underwhelming song on Underworld. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song though, especially considering how solid the rest of the album is!
‘Last Light’ is another one of those Tonight Alive tracks that is sure to put you in a great mood and make you feel content with your life, like all of their love songs seem to have the power to do. This one returns to a more poppy, upbeat sound which works perfectly.
‘Looking For Heaven’ steps into new territory for this foursome in the way of a piano ballad. This song will create special moments in live settings, both acoustically and plugged-in. There’s really not much that can be said about this song to do its beauty justice, other than that it has been done just right.
Wrapping up Underworld is ‘My Underworld’ featuring the one and only Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame. Tonight Alive have made a habit of closing their albums with the kind of song to fill you with warm fuzzies, and this is no exception. Taylor and McDougall’s voices work perfectly together on this track, which also pulls together everything else we love about Tonight Alive all in one song.
Underworld is exactly how McDougall had described it pre-release; A continuation of Limitless thematically, whilst returning heavily to the band’s earlier and heavier sound. But wait, there’s more! They’ve still managed to bring some new elements to the table, and showcase tremendous growth since their last record – which was released less than two years ago. All of this wrapped into one makes for a winning combination, and quite possibly Tonight Alive’s best album to date!
Get your hands on Underworld HERE!