We Set Signals – Ordo (Album Review)

We Set Signals – Ordo
Released: September 25th, 2020

Line up:

Nick Wilkinson // vocals
Mark Braithwaite // guitar
Zac Gregson // guitar
Shane Duncan // bass
Dion Amphlet // drums

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Since signing to the US’s We Are Triumphant in 2017, Brisbane pop punk/post-hardcore outfit We Set Signals have amassed an ever growing following online with their two EPs, Abandon Ship and Abandon Hope. The five-piece have been gradually drifting away from their pop punk roots, developing their sound and style and experimenting with heavier, metalcore riffs, ultimately their means of “breaking the mold”. Ordo is the band’s latest efforts, depicted in a cool concept album mirroring your fave apocalyptic, sci-fi series. Let’s check it out!

Kicking off with an all-too dramatic synth/electronic intro, ‘Give Me A Sign’ kinda sets the scene for what’s ahead. But it’s ‘We Want You’ where the We Set Signals boys really up the ante here with hardcore vocals, a catchy, melodic chorus and a solid, intense breakdown. They kinda get even better  with ‘Meet Me at Starlight Drive-in’ being the band’s tightest and most radio-friendly song on the album. It’s like the guitars have just exploded with all of its pop sensibilities, and I haven’t heard a sound this polished since Good Charlotte dropped ‘The River’. Except with We Set Signals, this song is just way louder and punchier. Upcoming US act Osatia frontman Alex Pasibe steps up to the plate towards the end, his vocals a sheer standout and you’d be hard not to mistake him for Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn.

Dropping in as the album’s debut single, ‘Where Were You’ marked We Set Signals’ return to music since 2018’s Abandon Ship and I don’t know about you, but this song definitely put these guys on the map for me. Featuring massive riffs, an underlying electronic, drum beat and an explosive chorus, the only element missing from this breakthrough track was a breakdown.  ‘Just Say Yes’ picks up the pace with its high-energy guitar riff taking the lead here, and it kinda sounds like an epic soundtrack to the next Marvel or Transformers film saga. We Set Signals are really giving pop punk/hardcore heavyweights A Day To Remember a run for their money this record it seems, and if any song can match ADTR, it’s ‘I Wish I Wasn’t Right’. It’s the band’s biggest riff-heavy track yet, with the band finally kicking in a tasty AF breakdown. So much yes.

The band have truly left their pop punk roots behind, and are unleashing havoc with their angrier, heavier personas. ‘War Never Changes’ sees them paying homage to mid-2000 metalcore icons Of Mice & Men and Stick To Your Guns, and it even has a tiny hint of an underlying DJenty metal groove. ‘Terminus’ sees vocalist Nick Wilkinson come back to his melodic clean vocals, while keeping their newfound identity intact. The chorus here is vaguely reminiscent of I Prevail; it’s a good time!

Nearing the backend of the record here, and ‘We’ll Watch the World End’ sees We Set Signals swap the breakdowns for a slower tempo just ever so slightly. While it definitely does not throw down as hard as the past three songs did, it’s an easy, afternoon lay-in-the-sun listen before getting into final track, ‘Aurora’. Continuing the style they managed to tune earlier on, ‘Aurora’ succeeds in We Set Signals nailing this newfound, progressive sound. This is gnarly as, and kinda leaves you hanging on for more!

There’s quite a few styles emanating from this album and to some ears, it may feel slightly overwhelming. However, Ordo sees We Set Signals experimenting through their music in ways they haven’t done before and it’s an overall thrilling album for anyone who prefers that middleground between metalcore, pop punk and post-hardcore. I am all for bands wanting to venture outside the box to explore new horizons, and they’ve demonstrated this tremendously here. If you’re getting sick of waiting for the new A Day To Remember record to drop this year, We Set Signals have got you sorted and will definitely keep you at bay.

We Set Signals – Ordo tracklisting:

1. Give Me A Sign
2. We Want You
3. Meet Me at Starlight Drive-in
4. Where Were You
5. Just Say Yes
6. I Wish I Wasn’t Right
7. War Never Changes
8. Terminus
9. We’ll Watch the World End
10. Aurora

Rating: 8/10
Ordo is out now through We Are Triumphant Records. Listen here
Review By Tamara May (@citylightstam)

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