After a thoroughly impressive debut album, Amber Pacific returns with much of the same emo-pop punk verve and enjoyability for their sophomore record Truth In Sincerity. But despite its crisper production values and the welcome return of many of the elements that made The Possibility And The Promise such an engaging experience, this followup slightly falls short of the extremely endearing nature of the band’s premiere. Any Amber Pacific fan is sure to get a lot out of this incredibly similar entry, but Truth In Sincerity isn’t quite as strong overall. Matt Young’s perfectly pop punk are once again tailor-made for this genre and Dango’s magnificently sporadic drumming makes for a continuous highlight of the album, but some tracks fall short of the same rhythmic, head-bobbing joy that filled Amber Pacific’s first outing. Truth In Sincerity unfairly had a lot to live up to and it delivers on almost all fronts, but producing a superior album after such a terrific debut would have been pretty improbable. In the end, the band’s sophomore followup is a little less compelling, but still another entertaining and catchy Amber Pacific experience.
Greg Strong’s imposing bass leads off “You’re Only Young Once,” a dynamic single filled with melodic guitar riffs from Will Nutter and the ever-upbeat drumming presence of Dango. Young’s deep baying is a pleasant choice for this catchy and lighthearted track as he reflects on the past like many of Amber Pacific’s songs: “The way we were so young and caught up in it / Too far to see how things can be / I thought I knew who you were.” Between the infectious riffs and enjoyable drum beat, the addition of strings to add a little more zest is a nice final touch that makes this song one of the strongest of Truth In Sincerity.
Many of the album’s songs inspire the listener’s foot to tap along with the beat, but the catchy “Fall Back Into My Life” will have entire audiences dancing for its spunky drum beat, simply jovial guitar riffs and Young’s flawless vocal delivery. This hit single represents what Amber Pacific does best: enjoyably lighthearted tunes with wonderfully passionate, sincere and angst-filled lyrics aimed at the emo crowd. Young’s promises of a better future despite a failed romance ring true with the terrific guitar and drum backdrop, making this the best song of the album.
Following an epic instrumental intro, “Runaway” kicks more ass than any song of Truth In Sincerity. The welcome guest vocals of Mike Herrera of MxPx gives it a little punk firepower, while Dango completely cuts loose with jaw-droppingly fast drumming. A distinct and underlying bass hook and the vocal interplay between Young and Herrera are delightful, but Dango’s drumming steals the show, especially mixed in with a prolific guitar solo.
Truth In Sincerity is a more artistic and refined step for the band, but is falls a bit short of the high mark set by The Possibility And The Promise. While fist-pumping anthems like “Summer (In B)” and genuinely touching ballads like “Take Me From This Place” add variety and show the band’s growth as musicians, a few tracks bring the album back down, such as the overly poppy “Temporary” or the plain composition of “Watching Over Me.” However, Truth In Sincerity isn’t far off from Amber Pacific’s great debut, and will certainly be welcomed by fans of bands like Just Surrender, The Starting Line, A Change Of Pace, Hit The Lights, Yellowcard, Matchbook Romance, Dropout Year, Holiday Parade and The Ataris as a successful continuation of the band’s early work. Between Young’s endearing vocals, melodic guitar riffs, groovy bass hooks and Dango’s ingenious drumming, Amber Pacific’s sophomore followup is nothing less than satisfying.
Final Score: 8/10
Rank: 2nd (three total albums)
- Rule #76
- Summer (In B)
- You’re Only Young Once
- Living Proof
- Follow Your Dreams, Forget The Scene
- Take Me From This Place
- Fall Back Into My Life
- We Think We’re Hardcore, ‘Cause Well, We Are
- Watching Over Me
- Dear___, This Has Always Been About Standing Up For What You Believe In