Set It Off – Elsewhere (Album Review)

Set It Off – Elsewhere
Released: March 11, 2022

Line Up:

Cody Carson // vocals
Zach DeWall // guitar
Maxx Danzinger // drums

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One of the things I admire about Set It Off is their ability to change and evolve their sound. Subsequently Set It Off are a hard band to categorise. Each album is different in tone, visuals and overall mood, not dramatic enough to incite wrath in their fans, but enough to be able to reflect who the band are at that particular time, and Elsewhere is no different in that regard. 

First single ‘Skeleton’ opens the album, with its haunting start before launching into some mid-tempo pop, mixing the eerie with the sweet and Carson spitting some lyrics real fast during the coda. ‘Projector’, the second single, is a better representation of what to expect with the album, with its catchy chorus, toe tapping tune and upbeat tempo. ‘Cut Off’ ups the tempo and therefore the song’s danceability, with an excellent key change near the end where Carson belts out the note. 

The use of a synthesizer during ‘Loose Cannon’ gives it a throwback vibe, and with the guitar riff the song would not feel out of place during Set It Off’s Duality era. ‘Why Do I’ evokes 80s pop, particularly in the chorus with its brass section. ‘As Good As It Gets’ layers a range of instruments creating a seemingly simple yet deceptively intricate modern pop song, ending with the use of a vocaliser. Third single ‘Who’s in Control’ follows, another song with a catchy chorus and a slight sinister feel to it.

‘Taste of the Good Life’, despite its cheerful tune, explores some darker issues through its lyrics and uses strings to underscore the proceedings, to create a slightly ominous edge. ‘Why Not Me’ is a contemporary pop song, which uses sound effects to create a slightly exotic sound. Layering vocals and with a distinct sneer in his voice ‘Dangerous’ is an edgier song, whose abrupt end just adds to the overall mood of the song.

Building on the atmosphere set by ‘Dangerous’, the next two songs ‘Cordial’ and ‘The Magic 8’ are just great songs to move and dance to. Bangers! (That’s what the young kids say right?!?!) ‘Playing with Bad Luck’ slows the rhythm down a notch or two while still maintaining a consistent pace, and sounds very familiar to previous tracks from Midnight.

‘Peekaboo’ brings back the edge, and uses orchestral instruments including drums to give it a full, emotive sound. The fuzzy guitar riff, just adds to the menacing feel of the song. ‘Catch A Break’ follows, and once again utilises a range of sounds to create a song with a distinctive hook, and a message that despite life’s downfalls, one will be okay. ‘Better Than This’ strips everything back, using only a piano, guitar and Carson’s vocals before incorporating a string section and electronic drumbeat to build upon the raw emotion of the song. ‘Better Than This’, the ballad of the album, brings the album to a satisfying conclusion. 

Elsewhere diverges from previous release Midnight, with its (literal) neon colours and overall happier and upbeat mood, despite some downhearted lyrics, which by all accounts reflects the band’s current mindset. However, what links all of Set It Off’s releases is the electric and eclectic vocals of its front man Cody Carson, and Elsewhere revels in this with its catchy hooks, key changes and infectious melodies. 

If singing at the top of your voice and dancing like nobody is watching is your thing… give Elsewhere a go.

Set It Off – Elsewhere tracklisting:

1. Skeleton
2. Projector
3. Cut Off
4. Loose Cannon
5. Why Do I
6. As Good As It Gets
7. Who’s In Control
8. Taste of the Good Life
9. Why Not Me
10. Dangerous
11. Cordial
12. The Magic 8
13. Playing With Bad Luck
14. Peekaboo
15. Catch a Break
16. Better Than This

Rating: 8.5/10
Elsewhere is out Friday 11th March through Fearless Records. Pre-Order here
Review by Carys Hurcom @CarysWos

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