A Day To Remember : What Separates Me From You
When you first listen to What Separates Me From You and the guttural distorted riffs and commanding screams of Sticks And Bricks assault your ears, you may briefly wonder if you’ve managed to mistakenly cue up a Parkway Drive album instead. By the time the chorus eventuates, however, and distinguishably catchy clean vocals off-set the song’s initial heaviness, you’ll recognise that what you’re hearing is irrefutably Ocala’s A Day To Remember.
What Separates Me From You is slightly more serious thematically and darker musically than its predecessor Homesick, but still maintains a sound that is quintessential ADTR. This can be attributed to the fact that producers Chad Gilbert, Andrew Wade and even ex-guitarist Tom Denney (who all contributed to writing and recording Homesick) were once again included in the writing process and responsible for the production of the new record.
While Homesick was largely about the touring lifestyle and singer Jeremy McKinnon’s persistent ambition to make something of himself and further his band, What Separates Me From You is concerned with the repercussions of touring, and the effect such an alternate lifestyle has had on the band’s home lives. McKinnon writes of friends betraying him; and of how a life of touring broke down his four-year relationship and was the cause of his absence when multiple members of his family passed away. Consequently, this subject matter has seen the band create a release that is at times more aggressive, and at others more emotional, than their previous efforts.
Although Homesick featured breakdowns and heavier sequences, it was still relatively upbeat, contrasting these heavier moments with fast, punky drum beats and poppy choruses. Conversely, in its heavier moments What Separates Me From You is much harder, and the pop-punk aspects of the record – although still present and just as hooky – are often more melancholy.
That same motivation that McKinnon possessed on Homesick is also still evident in his lyrics, but presents itself in a different form. McKinnon seems to use his unrelenting drive and self belief as a means to surpass and overcome his perceived foes, screaming onSticks And Bricks “You can say what you want about me but no one can tell me I can’t”, and on 2 nd Sucks “can’t waste my time on hateful people like you, so keep wishing you were me and I’ll keep making you have to.” You Be Tails I’ll Be Sonic, It’s Complicated and If I Leave – all written about McKinnon’s recent break up – deliver the contagious melodic pop-punk choruses A Day To Remember are known and loved for, and the desperate Out Of Time is as emotional as it is hooky.
The album’s artwork enforces it’s lyrical content, as a sunken-eyed caricature of McKinnon is depicted trapped in an hour glass watching a funeral, a wedding, a patient in hospital, and ‘normal’ people on the street – unable to reach them. The imagery of McKinnon ‘separated’ from everyday existence, coupled with a cartoon representation of the entire band gazing up from the depths of a well, accentuates the album’s themes.
As the frontman of a rock band and not entirely a wordsmith, McKinnon’s lyrical style is simple and direct; but this only makes his honest and personal style all the more relatable. On All I Want, McKinnon sings “I’m always screaming my lungs out until my head starts spinning, playing my songs is the way I deal with life,” stating what is already obvious – that his songs are his outlet and the way in which he expresses his essential self; and isn’t that just what music is supposed to be?
Fans of their previous albums won’t be disappointed, with their unique amalgamation of metal-core and sing-along pop-punk, A Day To Remember have crafted another fantastic record.
What Separates Me From You is out now through Victory Records