TITLE: EVERYONE AROUND ME
LABEL: NUCLEAR BLAST
WORDS: KEVIN FLINN
The term “commonwealth” is used to describe an organization, political or social, founded for the common good. The band Commonwealth has one message, create music for the common good. And with their debut full length album, ‘Everyone Around Me’ arriving at the beginning of 2019, it’s safe to say that Commonwealth has accomplished what they set out to do. With a blend of post-pop-punk and alternative rock forming the basis of their sound, Commonwealth’s new record is a shining achievement from start to finish.
Commonwealth immediately grabs your attention with the first track, coincidentally the latest single, “Fear”. A relatively relaxed intro, compared to what’s to come, warms up your ears before jumping straight into the first verse. Angst filled vocals matched with heavy, rolling drums pull the listener into the song while the guitar adds a bright, slightly atmospheric consistency to it all.
“a shining achievement from start to finish.”
The true star here, surprisingly, is the bass line. For this style of music, the bass often acts as simply a low-end filler, but not so here. With such a funk-like riff, the bass creates an ear catching melody that adds even more to this already solid track. It’s easy to see why this was the single, but it makes even more sense why this is the opening track. “Fear” is a prime example of Commonwealth’s sound and acts as a wonderful window into the rest of the record.
“Fathers”, the song that put Commonwealth on music radars everywhere, is smartly included in this album. The same can be said for “Vinyl”, another song that was released previously as a single and has been added to the eleven song track listing. Both songs had garnered attention from many, being seen as strong signs of what was to come. It was a brilliant move on the bands part to include both tracks, acting as an easy way for fans to jump right into the record. And though it would have been nice to see maybe one or two more songs to counter the fact they had been released previously, for a debut record of this quality and substance it’s easily forgiven.
That’s the underlying theme with this band. For a group who is so relatively new and without much previous material under their helm, Commonwealth is tight. One would be hard pressed to find out this quartet isn’t a more established group. To be such a relatively young band and create such an impressive collection of songs only goes to show the strength of Commonwealth’s musicianship.
“Taking an introspective look into a life of pain and tragedy, this albums’ lyrics are, simply put, poetry.”
Every track is packed with strong, raw vocals and heart pounding drums, craftily balanced by the consistency of the bass grooves and the pellucid guitar tones. All of it helps to form the basis of each story the lyrics tell. Between themes of abandonment, heartbreak, depression, and anxiety, every song is like peeking into a diary. Taking an introspective look into a life of pain and tragedy, this albums’ lyrics are, simply put, poetry. Raw, uncensored, unapologetic. Maybe even more appropriate, the lyrics and instrumentation are honest, whether one sees it as so from the bands perspective or from their own.
‘Everyone Around Me’ is an exceptional debut effort. Every song’s intention is one that adds to the overall theme and message of the band; “honest music for the worn out soul”. Track after track, word after word, Commonwealth wears their hearts on their sleeves, whether that be flannel or tattoo. This four piece has established themselves with this record as a band to keep on your radar. The last few years since their founding in 2016 have been relatively quiet for the band, with two single releases in 2017, accompanying music videos, and getting added to SharpTone’s roster being the most notable highlights. But with this record, expect 2019 to be hugely important and exponential for Commonwealth. This band truly creates music for the common good.