I'll get to the conclusion of this review immediately. Eat Defeat have probably won pop punk in 2018. Their brand new album, I Think We'll Be Okay, is a masterpiece and I've no doubts that this will propel them onto a much bigger audience than the one they already enjoy. I've enjoyed following the career of the Leeds based four piece since 2012's debut album Challenges. Challenges saw the band play more of a skate punk with traces of ska style. Since then they've released two EPs, 2014's It's Always Sunny In Yorkshire and 2016's Time And Tide. These releases saw Eat Defeat shift towards the more pop punk style they're known for today. Something that I think connects all these releases is the message of positivity that is spread through their music. They write songs to empower people and help them realise that no matter what is going on in your life you are never alone.
Nothing's Wrong is about putting on a front and pretending that everything is fine when in fact you're really struggling. I'm sure we've all been feeling bad and have responded to the question "what's wrong?" with the answer "nothing." I know I have on many occasions. The fifth song, Can't Say I'll Miss You, is another with a big, building intro that gets you pumped up for the song. The track begins with a high tempo before gradually morphing into a more melodic style. Can't Say I'll Miss You tackles the subject of false friendships coming to an end and realising it's for the better. There is a particularly special moment towards the end of the track where the music again fades away and we are treated to a superb building section with some exquisitely executed harmonies before reaching the song's big finale. Shortcuts originally appeared on Time And Tide and it's great to see it come back for I Think We'll Be Okay. This song is always one of the highlights of an Eat Defeat live set. It's about bands taking shortcuts to try and getting ahead instead of going about it by working hard and ultimately achieving whatever you would class as success in a more rewarding way. Basically - DIY or die! Shortcuts is a fast paced banger with a brilliantly catchy chorus that will have you singing along, as well as having a fantastic jump around. This song is a bit of an anthem for all the small DIY gigs that Eat Defeat play and perhaps a bit of an F-U to the bands who don't put the work in and get ahead. Running In Place is a softer song which sees Eat Defeat in more of a reflective mood. The song looks at the conflict of either staying rooted to one place or wanting to live a life of adventure and how these decisions affect your mental health. This is a really intelligently written song that makes you think.
The eighth song on I Think We'll Be OK is named Scorched Earth. This is one of my favourite tracks on an album full of excellent songs. It's a fun and uplifting song about making the most of your life even if something might feel like a bad idea to begin with. After the more thoughtful and melodic style of Running In Place, this fast paced and slightly chaotic sound really grabbed me. It's a slight contrast that works really well. For me, Eat Defeat are at their very best when they've got their foot fully on the floor and are going for it. I loved the lyrics of "Let's make bad decisions, defy traditions, embrace collisions and see where it gets us." That's a fine way to try and live your life. The penultimate song is titled Self Help (For The Helplessly Selfless). The song begins with a somewhat darker tone compared to the rest of the album, kind of making me think of Challenges era Eat Defeat. I then did a little checking and realised that this is in fact a re-recorded version of the opening the song of Challenges. Good thing I checked – I would have looked silly! The song works brilliantly within the theme of the album - taking chances and trying to live life to the fullest. Eat Defeat in my opinion saved the best song for the end on the album. The excellent Not Today, Old Friend first appeared on the Japanese version of Time And Tide but this is its first appearance on a UK release. The album also takes its name from the lyric in the chorus, "I think we'll be okay." The song is obviously about fighting back against your demons and not letting the rubbish bring you down. This is truly just a perfect song in every aspect and genuinely puts a smile on my face each every time I hear it. I do think that we'll be okay.
This is hands down THE pop punk album of 2018. Stop reading, go and listen. Smile, dance, be empowered and have a lovely day.
I Think We'll Be Okay is out on August 3rd. People from Europe can pre-order here and the UK and the rest of the world can pre-order here.
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This review was written by Colin Clark.