MAKEOUT – The Good Life
Released: September 29th, 2017
Sam Boxold // Vocals & Lead Guitar
Tyler Young // Rhythm Guitar & Backup Vocals
Scott Eckel // Drums
Alex Lofton // Bass & Backup Vocals
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, why the fuck would we be writing about a bunch of upcoming pop rock musos on Wall of Sound? Well, to be honest with you, pull your head out of your arse and notice talent when you hear it. From the second these guys put out music, I could tell straight away they were going to be destined for big things, after all, not everyone gets signed to Rise Records, works with producer John Feldmann, co-writes with 5 Seconds of Summer and Travis Barker and opens for blink-182, plays Vans Warped Tour AND Slam Dunk Fest. So yeah, I’m writing about them. Having worked within the commercial radio industry for almost 10 years now, I’ve heard a stack of great musicians come and go, as well as some really shit house ones that should never have been played… *cough Psy cough*, but there’s something about the drive behind these four blokes that should be enticing enough for you to want to listen to their debut album The Good Life, so I’ll get started.
‘Childish‘ kicks off the album and the first voice we hear is our very own Australian drummer Scott Eckel counting the band in for what can only be explained as a fast and rock filled opening track about times when life was much simpler. The song has similar sounds to earlier All Time Low tracks with a touch of 5SOS and plenty of “woah oh” fillers and will make a great introduction song when the band showcase it on their next tour. Following on from this is the first single ‘Crazy‘ which divided the internet upon its first release. The song is your typical “Love Hating You/Hate Loving You” anthem that would be too heavy (in lyrical content) for the 5 Seconds of Summer boys to cover with their ever growing mass of younger fans. It’s catchy as fuck though and guaranteed will have you humming along after hearing it. Frontman Sam Boxold manages to grab your attention with his sweet and innocent sounding vocals, which aren’t that at all when he’s spraying things like “Shoulda’ never letcha get the best of me, Lovin’ you’s a recipe, For disaster, Hurts like hell but damn it’s fuckin’ heavenly”. Ahh young love, those were the days…
‘Lisa‘ is up next and immediately has those pop punk jam feels to it within the first few seconds which is enough time to realise this isn’t a love dedication song to a girl Sam loves, but more of a a Hate You song. We hear more from backup vocalists Tyler Young and Alex Lofton as Scotty bangs away in the background. If you like harmonious singing with a pop rock soundtrack, you’re gonna dig this. If not, you’re probably too old to be here man… ‘Ride It Out‘ continues the momentum going and my first thought when hearing this was, this is their breakout song. This should be the one radio is jumping on across the globe because it’s got all the elements of a #1 song in the making combining ballad like themes, and epic stadium rock sounding chorus, an emotional connection for lost love and once again, catchy as fuck lyrics that’ll have you singing along in no time. Co-written by Ashton Irwin and Calum Hood of 5SOS, so it’s easy to see where the resemblance is between the two bands… and look how successful the latter have become.
‘Open Minded‘ keeps the fun pumping by upping the tempo and bringing back the “woah ohs” from earlier, with a sound akin to that of Simple Plan‘s newer stuff, but unfortunately this one is a miss for me, however the good thing about that one ending is when the intro to ‘You Can’t Blame Me‘ begins, my ears prick up and I start to hear what can only be described as the not so famous twin song of blink-182‘s ‘Don’t Mean Anything‘ with a solo guitar to bring us in, Sam sounding fairly similar to Matt Skiba on the California Deluxe Edition and a drum beat you’d be forgiven for mistaking as a Travis Barker signature… which as it turns out IS TRAVIS BARKER. This is the song he laid down a beat for and the end result is perfect. Drummer Scott Eckel has a similar playing style to Travis so the fact it wasn’t picked up on straight away proves the two are a dynamic team who have created something great together. Once the chorus begins however, the song drops all over influences and becomes it’s own entity. Would I say this is the sad song of the album? Yeah, definitely. It’s more mellow in tone compared to previous tracks but still decent enough to keep your attention for it’s entirety. The last lyrics as the song fades out confirm this theory with “I’m not fine, pretending it’s alright, it’s never been alright” repeated twice until it ends. ‘Clockwork‘ begins the climax of this love/hate story that’s been told to us through song and is the one where the “victim” realises he’s in the wrong with all that’s gone down in his wave of emotions and quick ‘jump-to-conclusions‘ reactions. This is MAKEOUT sounding like MAKEOUT.
‘Till We’re Gone‘ is another ballad coming of age type track complete with piano intro which turns into a soft pop rock for the chorus, ‘Salt Lake City‘ brings back the stadium pop rock feels and sounds sooo much bigger than it seems. Would be great to see this one live with the sound behind it. Scott takes the spotlight in this one with his drumming standing out from the rest of the band but once ‘Secrets‘ begins, the rest of the band are nowhere to be seen as Sam Boxold opens up himself to bare all in this new-age “Fuck You” song about a cheating partner who’s been caught out. You only hear his name once but seriously Fuck Kevin and his home wrecking antics. Even though it’s just an acoustic song, the message is loud and clear and Sam managed to nail it with so much attention on him. I would have loved to hear more emotion put behind his vocals though, he sings it all with ease and without any signs of sadness, even when singing about probably taking his ex back… But all that’s out the window when he says “Nah, Fuck It” loud and proud with nothing else playing behind him proving he’s done with her shit and moving on.
For those wondering where the fast playing guitars are, well all you need to do is hear the opening of ‘Where’s My Charger‘ to hear the potential these boys have, but don’t get too excited, just like blink-182‘s ‘Built This Pool‘, it’s wasted on a 25 second “joke track which gets you all kinds of hopeful, then takes it all away in less than a minute… although, it’s better lyrically than blink’s Pool song, if that was even possible. ‘Blast Off‘ is The Good Life‘s climax track and for once, song placement was done right with this one as the whole experience of this band’s debut album has been an adventure. Group vox, fast singing, mad drumming and whiny wails really bring this one together. It’s a great way to wrap up the whole listening experience for the album… if you’ve made it that far.
So there you have it, the debut album for MAKEOUT ticks plenty of boxes for fans of youth oriented lyrical content with a killer pop rock/punk band behind it. You can tell with the amount of effort these guys have put into this release, that they want to prove they’re not a carbon copy of bands like 5SOS, but really doing their own thing within the genre. And with so many big wigs backing them, you know this is only the start of what’s to come from them…
MAKEOUT – The Good Life tracklisting
- Ride it Out
- Open Minded
- You Can’t Blame Me
- Till We’re Gone
- Salt Lake City
- Where’s My Charger
- Blast Off
Revisit MAKEOUT drummer Scott Eckel co-hosting on Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall here