Music Review: I Am the Avalanche, "I Am the Avalanche"
Release Date: September 27, 2005
by Tony Pascarella
Published: November 16, 2005
The Movielife and Further Seems Forever. If you’re into pop-punk and all of the related genres of music, these two names recall fond memories of bands that either have broken up or will probably never return to their top form. The Movielife broke up completely, while FSF is still around (pretty much in name only). Several years after the demise of The Movielife, lead singer Vinnie Caruana, with his sarcasm and angst-tinged vocals, decided he wanted to form a new band. He enlisted the help of FSF's Brendan Swanson and some friends from the Long Island music scene to fulfill his vision. I would be remiss not to mention that around the same time, The Movielife’s guitarist picked up a microphone and started a lovely little cross between The Cure and Jimmy Eat World called Nightmare of You with ex-Glassjaw drummer Sammy Siegler. Nevertheless, that is an issue for another review.
Both the pulverizing guitar riffs and Caruana’s thoughtful yet aggressive vocals on “New Disaster” give I Am the Avalanche a chance to win both old Movielife fans and some new ones who never really got a chance to appreciate Vinnie’s previous project. You’ll begin to realize that IATA has more of a punch to it, but those same elements we knew and loved are still deeply rooted in the new band. The new stuff reminds me a little bit stylistically of Boys Night Out’s 2005 release Trainwreck without the keyboard or screaming. The gang vocals are there, and IATA employs a similar sound. Personally, I do think this self-titled album blows Boys Night Out away in the lyrics category; however, I’m a biased fan of the Movielife, so I may not be the best authority on that topic. “I Took A Beating” is another solid track that finds its way onto my favorites list for this album. At first, a listener might thing it sounds too formulaic, and frankly, it does. If you open up your ears and truly feel what Caruana is singing about, you'll realize how great the lyrics are.
On "Dead and Gone," the band traverses from a sharp, squealing melody to a slowdown in the second half before reprising the beginning, complete with solid gang vocals. If there's one part of I Am the Avalanche where they really impress above others, it's the vocals as a whole. Vinnie's singing is only one part of the equation as the other band members' singing and shouting along adds an extra level of depth to the songs. "Green Eyes" is a drum-oriented song that flirts with both the heaviness of the hardcore genre and the vocals of the pop-punk and even grunge genres. This one will be underrated, but undeservedly so.
Toward the end, I Am the Avalanche seems to falter a bit. "Symphony" is lyrically strong (what else is new?) but it just doesn't seem to have enough diversity to set it apart from the rest of the album. This one is less upbeat, and edgy, and the momentum of the album suffers for it. Unfortunately, two of the three songs following it have similar problems. "Emergency" is a good pick-me-up with more of the wall of guitars displayed earlier in the album. "Clean Up" and "My Second Restraining Order" seem to lack the little extra something to put them over the top. The album closer is punchier, but it has a gap where the lyrics and music meet; they don't seem to fit together as seamlessly as they probably should.
For a debut album, I Am the Avalanche is well above average. There are still a few spots where they could clean it up or fuse the songs together a little better, but that's to be expected with the first run. There happens to be no doubt about the band's instrument work; it's damn near perfect, as are the lyrics. This album is recommended to fans of The Movielife and the people who enjoy themselves a little alt-rock and grunge sound to their music. It's never definitively pigeonholed in one genre, and thus will appeal to a range of audiences.
01. Dead and Gone
02. New Disaster
04. Green Eyes
05. I Took A Beating
08. This Is Dungeon Music
11. Clean Up
12. My Second Restraining Order
Vinnie Caruana (Vocals, Guitar)
Brandon Swanson (Guitar)
Michael Ireland (Guitar)
Kellen Robson (Bass)
Brett Romnes (Drums)
Producer: Barrett Jones (Nirvana, Foo Fighters)