Streetlight Manifesto – Somewhere In The Between

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Streetlight Manifesto

Somewhere In The Between - Victory Records

We, as a society, hate to wait. We want our food fast, our coffee on the go, and our music immediately. The prospect of having to wait for anything is horrifying – be it waiting in line to get a cheeseburger or waiting to hear the new album from your favorite band. But when you think about it, it’s normally those few times when you have to wait for something that it is actually really memorable. I mean, who remembers that sloppy cheeseburger they got from McDonald’s one day? No one, that’s who. Instead, they’ll remember that time they went out to Ric’s Grill with friends, sat down, had a few drinks and ate a full meal that lasted close to two hours instead of a measly five minutes. It may have taken time, a lot longer than jumping into the drive-thru, but the food was better, the atmosphere more comfortable and the meal soon turned into an entire evening. So, it’s good to wait for some things and Somewhere In The Between is one such thing.

Four years in the making (not counting the re-recorded version of Keasbey Nights), Somewhere In The Between has been that theoretical light at the end of the tunnel – always hinted at but never tangible. After numerous delays, Streetlight Manifesto finally started to confirm details in late August and continued to slowly trickle out information about the release for the following months until it finally was released to the masses in November. With four years of anticipation built underneath it, fans were eagerly awaiting the release; all the while wondering whether or not the record will be able to successfully follow the mammoth debut that was Everything Goes Numb.

Well, I’m here to say that Somewhere In The Between blows Everything Goes Numb out of the water; and anyone who’s heard the debut knows that that’s saying something.

The album may only feature ten songs but within those ten songs there is not one single moment of filler. They’ve taken every little positive aspect of Everything Goes Numb and improved on it. Of course, you get Tomas Kalnoky’s signature and perfect vocals pumping through the speakers at a lightning speed with help from the occasional gang vocals which is a definite highlight; but the musicianship is so inexplicable tight too. Throughout the album, the brass, the horns and the woodwinds come blaring through with a purpose and intensity that is unmatched in most genres – ska or not. They aren’t thrown in as afterthoughts but are quite often the leading forces in the songs. It’s as if they want to prove the point with the opening track, We Will Fall Together which instantly emphasizes the importance of the brass and horns on the records. On top of that, there’s still the rapid fire guitars, the energetic rhythm section and the overlapping jigsawed vocals that characterize Kalnoky’s writing style which gives body and shape to the songs.

Furthermore, Kalnoky once again wows the listener with his spectacular use of the English language as he tackles a wide variety of subjects with his sprawling lyrical sheet. Down, Down, Down To Mephisto’s Cafe and The Blonde Lead The Blind attack the mindless followers of trends as he writes “So fuck the flocks of sheep that keep amassing masses/ Asses being led so far astray/ And I won’t claim to believe the things I read/ Black books or agenda magazine/I’d rather see in shades of gray” and “You look too deep at the cover of the magazine/ But the words inside they come across deprived / And they force feed shit, but you still subscribe.” Other songs show that Kalnoky still has that love of live instilled with him as shown in the title track’s chorus (which is probably my favorite chorus in recent memory) “So you were born, and that was a good day / Someday you’ll die, and that is a shame/ But somewhere in the between was a life of which we all dream/ And nothing and no one will ever take that away” while The Receiving End Of It All depicts a tale of lost love with the words “we used to be in love (my love!), but now we’re just in like/ And we broke all our promises and baby that ain’t right/ Because you don’t know what it’s like to lose it all.”

Every song on Somewhere In The Between is raw and united by a sense of excitement, energy and a celebratory nature. The album works together, all the way from the front right through to the back. Kalnoky’s vocals are spectacular as are his lyrics while the musicianship makes Streetlight Manifesto one of the most worthy purveyors of third wave ska kicking around.

So while it may have taken an inexplicably long time to come, Somewhere In The Between is worth every minute spent waiting. Instead of a flimsy three dollar fast food burger, we’ve been treated to a sixty dollar dinner that we’ll remember for years to come.