By The Hour is the debut full length by San Diego post punk band, Arson Academy. The first thing I notice right away while listening is the production value of this album. The recording is big sounding and fills the whole spectrum of the listener’s ears. Everything sits where it should and is mixed and mastered very well.
The first track, Tint of Red, reminds me of A Day To Remember. Super heavy minor chord riffage, followed by pretty guitars while the vocalist comes in to sing his verses. The hook in this song is very catchy.
The next song is the title track of the album, By the Hour. Once again Arson Academy has the right blend of super melodic verses mixed with heavy choruses. By the Hour has a very neat chanting chorus that I can see people singing along to live. The bridge break into a octave piece that leads nicely back to the chantey chorus.
Dizzy Spell is the next track, and the title describes it pretty well. It starts with a crazy drum piece that seems to be a bit out of time, and leaves the listeners scrambling to find time to tap your foot to. More of the same with this track. Very neat bridge/breakdown section in this song. Once again the drummer struggles to keep time throughout the whole piece.
The album continues on and is a steady dose of catchy hooks, breakdowns, and riffs that will make you feel like going to a show and bouncing endlessly while chanting along with the lead singer through the choruses.
My favorite track would have to be one called Robotic. It sticks out on By The Hour. It starts with some harmonizing guitar licks and breaks down into another chorus that makes you want to raise your fist and sing along. The harmonies are spot on, and the vocal melody is very original. I especially like the bridge in this song. Very creative.
Hips VS Hardwood is another cool track. It’s an acoustic track and is a great break from the overall heaviness of the rest of the album. I really like the acoustic tracks and demo tracks that are included with the album. It’s always great to hear the progression of a song from demo to finished track.
Overall, By The Hour is a very solid release by Arson Academy. Every track is well thought out and the vocals seem to have a lot of thought behind them. Where this band sticks out is their ability to write a hook in each and every track that is easy to sing along to. The vocals aren’t always in key, the drummer seems to slip in and out of time a little, but that doesn’t matter when you have an audience singing along to all the words in your songs. They also do a pretty decent cover of Face to Face’s Disconnected on By The Hour. The bass player nails the bass line. If you are familiar with Face to Face, you know that is no easy feat. If you are a fan of A Day To Remember, The Black Maria, or Emery, you will enjoy Arson Academy.
Review By Loons