Orchestral pop-rockers Set It Off prove that their sound is anything but one dimensional with sophomore release Duality.
Having released their debut album ‘Cinematics’ way back in 2012, pop-rockers Set It Off are back with their much anticipated follow-up. Unveiled in October 2014 – two years in the making – ‘Duality’ showcases the progression of the band’s sound, whilst still retaining the sense of theatricality and stylistic approach that is unique to the quartet (albeit a little more refined.)
Album opener ‘The Haunting’ jumps right in with quite a dark vibe, marrying elements of the band’s orchestral sound with an explosive, rock-driven chorus. The song also has a twisted fairytale-esque feel in the theatricality of the lyrics, not to mention bucket-loads of sassiness in Cody Carson’s distinctive vocals. This carries through in tracks such as ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’, featuring William Beckett, with its sneering “this is about you” intro and dark twist on classic nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill’.
In amongst the scathing sassiness, there are also lighter moments incorporated into the mix, with some tracks combining elements of other genres. For example, ‘Forever Stuck In Our Youth’, has much more of an overarching funky, pop feel. Opening with a jaunty bass pattern, coupled with Cody Carson’s soulful tone, it’s a definite party track with major hands-in-the-air vibes. Similarly, ‘Ancient History’ is also a fun pop-driven number, with a chorus that will no doubt inspire a mass clap-along from any crowd.
Likewise, ‘Tomorrow’ – featuring singer/songwriter Jason Lancaster – is passionate, anthemic, and thematically reminiscent of one of the band’s earlier songs, ‘Dream Catcher’. In addition, lead single ‘Why Worry’ also possesses an uplifting, cathartic quality. Kicking off with gang-vocal chants, the darker sounding verses are lifted by an eruptive, fun, singalong chorus; all the while detailing the pitfalls of anxiety and asking, ‘why worry at all?’
Album closer ‘Miss Mysterious’ is, arguably, one of the most emotionally poignant tracks on the album. Beginning with a piano-led melody, the ballad also incorporates choir-esque vocals in the latter half – again lending to a theatrical feel – but never sounding overdone or cheesy. Referencing other song titles from the album within the closing lyrics, it wraps things up beautifully.
Overall, ‘Duality’ sees Set It Off growing and slowly moving away from the dark, orchestral rock days of ‘Cinematics’ but never straying too far from home; incorporating a number of different styles but always managing to retain that trademark Set It Off vibe which carries throughout the entire record. This is reflected in album title, ‘Duality’ as, as a whole, the record showcases the light and dark of their sound, demonstrating that Set It Off are anything but a pop-rock one trick pony.
I’ve had this album for a while so my favourite ones have changed quite a lot, but honestly I love every song on this album!
Over the past few months, Set It Off have revealed that their ‘Duality’ era is over, and brand-new third album ‘Upside Down’ will be released on October 7th this year. Following this, the guys unveiled the album’s lead single ‘Uncontainable’, and second single ‘Something New’, in March and June respectively.
The guys are currently trekking around the US as part of the ‘Vans Warped Tour’, which they have played for the second year in a row – but this time on the main stage. They are a brilliant live band so I highly recommend catching their set, at some point, if you can.
To see my previous review of ‘Uncontainable’, click here.
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