A lot has happened in the world of Amber Pacific since the band’s first full-length, The Possibility and the Promise, was released in 2005.
In 2008 when Amber Pacific parted ways with vocalist Matt Young, the future of AP was uncertain. The band released Virtues in 2010 with new vocalist Jesse Cottam to mixed reviews, but in 2014 Amber Pacific launched an IndieGoGo campaign to find their fourth full-length with the return of Matt to vocals.
For the revived Amber Pacific album, the band consists of vocalist Matt Young, guitarist Will Nutter, drummer Dango, guitarist Justin Westcott, and special guest Mike Herrera from MxPx on bass. Herrera also produced the album and contributed vocals on the opening track, “Undone”.
In addition to Herrera, the band also brought in friend and past tourmate Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low to contribute guest vocals on “When I Found You”. His “whoa, oh oh’s” and Matt’s vocals fit together nicely to make this one of the highlights on the album. Alex’s verse with Matt at the end of the song is especially great, and it leads nicely into a very strong chorus with almost all the music dropped out.
“Safe for Now” is another highlight - a song that sounds just like it could have been pulled from the band’s 2007 release, Truth in Sincerity. The fast drums and guitar are reminiscent of fan-favorite “Summer in B” and show off the high-energy music they’re capable of playing. It’s one of their strengths, and it would have been nice to see a few more songs with this energy and pop-punk goodness they’re so good at playing.
If you were a fan of Virtues, track number 7 will sound familiar - “Don’t Let It Fall Through” was released in 2009 when Jesse joined the band. When bands switch singers, fans always want to hear songs recorded with the current singer, and Amber Pacific gave us that. It’s weird - but also cool - to hear the song with Matt’s vocals.
“I’ll Beat the Odds,” showcases the classic Amber Pacific sound, along with familiar lyrical themes of hope in lines like, “..You’ll always be the strength I need to pull me through” and "I'll be the light in the dark, shining as bright as a star. But I'll be the light in the dark and we'll beat the odds."
"Would You?," while it’s no mindblowing album closer like “Dear _____” from Truth in Sincerity, is a great way to end the album. It's a melodic end, complete with hand claps and piano. While it's calmer than the rest of the album, it's a good representation of everything the band has done on this new album.
As expected, the band returned to the Amber Pacific feel we all know and love. They’ve always delivered catchy pop-punk and The Turn is no exception. Even after all these years, the guys of Amber Pacific can still do a great job of putting out solid music. Any of these songs, particularly songs like “Safe for Now” and “Young Love” easily could have fit onto earlier Amber Pacific releases.
If you were a fan of the band years ago, in any stage of their existence, you’ll enjoy The Turn. If anyone could bring catchy pop-punk back into the scene, it’s Amber Pacific. Be sure to check out The Turn and the deluxe edition on iTunes or Spotify!