A Change Of Pace is an extremely underrated alternative rock/emo band that pumped out two stellar records before losing their way for a bit with the departure of lead vocalist Torry Jasper. Their third album without Jasper favored a lighter, catchier dynamic but was so horrendous that it appeared A Change Of Pace was all but finished. All the hardcore elements of the music were long gone with the departure of Jasper and the quality of music and vocals dramatically suffered. However, ACOP fans can rejoice with the hope that this once great band may return to winning form as they have reunited with Jasper to attempt funding a fourth album. In anticipation of this upcoming album, taking a look at the A Change Of Pace’s greatest effort might shed some light on the future and what fans should be hoping for. Because the band’s 2006 sophomore album, Prepare The Masses, narrowly edges their harder debut album as their most polished and aesthetically pleasing effort.
“Prepare The Masses” kicks off with the sound of marching and battle drums before erupting into an upbeat and fun opener loaded with Romeo and Juliet references. Jasper’s crisp voice singing about doomed and tragic love make for one of the catchiest choruses of the album as he harmonizes “Sing me to sleep tonight, sweet Juliet / Two star-crossed lovers marry looking for regrets/ By daybreak I’ll be gone and searching for your kiss / Leave me a drop of poison waiting on your lips.” The balance between the tragedy of love and the impending war that will result from their demise makes for a stellar opener. It also displays Jonathan Kelley’s creativity with some nifty drum beats as a good complement to the deep electric whine of Adam Rodgers and Dan Parker’s guitars.
“Shoot From The Hip” tops “Death Do Us Part” as A Change Of Pace’s best song of all time, immediately drawing listeners in with a group chant of fluctuating “Whoa”‘s that characterizes this superb track for its entire duration. This recurring chant builds up before erupting into an indignant, spite-infused song about that is brutally honest about heartbreak, complete with fast-paced drumming and repetitively addicting guitar riffs. Jasper’s high-pitched vocals also help this song stand out as the album’s best as he declares “Heartbreak baby is half the fun / Bring the bullets, I’ll bring the guns / Take ten steps now turn and draw / I shoot from the hip then watch you fall.”
“Weekend Warriors” switches up the tempo again with one of the band’s best songs on pop punk side of their music. “Weekend Warriors” isn’t this group’s most artistic work, but its spunky and fun-loving approach is a welcome addition to give Prepare The Masses further variety and lighten the mood. This song is simple, but gives listeners a look at A Change Of Pace at their catchiest, which is a frequency that makes them more accessible to a broader audience.
A Change Of Pace downplayed the hardcore elements of their music in their sophomore album, but surprisingly, the quality didn’t suffer for it. In fact, “How To Rape A Country” is the only song on the record to employ the use of screaming (which makes for an awesomely aggressive, head-banging track) but even so, Prepare The Masses stands as the band’s finest work. The guitars and drums are more polished, Jasper’s vocals are as flamboyant as ever and the finished product has a much more refined feel to it. An Offer You Can’t Refuse was an impressive debut album, but lacked a true identity due to the extreme polarity between the band’s lighter, catchy songs and heavier emo tracks. Prepare The Masses establishes a more succinct balance between the two in favor of the lighter side, but doesn’t completely turn its back on the entertainingly aggressive elements that make A Change Of Pace so appealing. From the pop punk influence found in “I’m Alive” to the hardcore presence of “How To Rape A Country;” from the sexually charged “War In Your Bedroom” to the outright rock and roll of “I Wanna Be Your Rock & Roll,” A Change Of Pace brings energy, fun and fist-pumping rock anthems for anyone to enjoy. Fans of bands like Mayday Parade, A Day To Remember, All Time Low, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Yellowcard, Hit The Lights, New Found Glory, The Starting Line, Sugarcult and Hawthorne Heights should all find something noteworthy here as fans eagerly anticipate (and contribute to) the making of the band’s next album.
Final Score: 8/10
Rank: 1st (three total albums)
- Prepare The Masses
- How To Rape A Country
- I’m Alive
- Shoot From The Hip
- Weekend Warriors
- White Lines And Lipstick
- A Song The World Can Sing Out Loud
- Take Care
- War In Your Bedroom
- I Wanna Be Your Rock & Roll
- Recipe For Disaster
- Safe And Sound In Phone Lines