Against the Current – ‘Past Lives’

By Kelly Ronaldson

Packed tight with stories of love, life and emotional struggles, ‘Past Lives’ marks the forthcoming sophomore album from Poughkeepsie natives and internet-born pop rock band Against the Current. Starting out the year with a support slot touring alongside Fall Out Boy, the acclaimed trio are still expanding their ever-growing fan base, and their highly anticipated release of ‘Past Lives’ is guaranteed to do the same.

‘Strangers Again’ opens the album in the form of an impressive synth-pop effort, drawing in listeners with some of the most infectious hooks that the record has to offer and deeply-relatable lyrical themes that will resonate with just about anyone. Despite not straying far from their signature sound, ‘The Fuss’ sees Against the Current experimenting a little, playing around with more intricate guitar riffs and complex drum work, before ‘I Like The Way’ combines dance-inspired synths and dreamy guitar-pop as Costanza waxes lyrical about living in the moment and falling in love.

Next track ‘Personal’ takes influence from alternative pop, bringing in strong basslines and an emphasis on Halsey-esque vocals, while the track’s emotional lyrical content deals with letting go of those we’ve lost. ‘Voices’ packs a punch as Costanza’s vocals take a more aggressive approach, confronting the singers’ negative thoughts and the opinions of other people through a series of electrifying guitar riffs, before ‘Scream’ presents an unnervingly upbeat sound for a track about wanting someone out of your life. ‘Almost Forgot’, on the other hand, brings back that dream-pop atmosphere, with addictive hooks guaranteed to bring in a few Taylor Swift fans.

‘P.A.T.T.’ marks a fun, unapologetic and empowering anthem that challenges beauty standards, calling out to young girls and shamelessly promoting the concept of being yourself – certainly a topic of ever-increasing importance in today’s society. By contrast, ‘Friendly Reminder’ feels much more relaxed yet attempts a similar wave of empowerment, this time offering a casual self-help approach to overcoming hardships, before the uplifting ‘Come Alive’ finds the perfect middle ground between the two.

Lastly, the album closes with the resounding yet unassertive sounds of ‘Sweet Surrender’. While the track’s musical components may be pulsing and infectious, their simplicity and repetition bring the listener’s attention to the vocal work, allowing Costanza to express a new level of raw, emotional depth throughout the track. Sophomore albums are often expected to have their drawbacks, lacking the excitement of a debut and unable to match the experience of any later releases. ‘Past Lives’ has managed to neatly sidestep these traps, showcasing the band’s ever-improving talents in a fun, infectious and deeply personal work of art.

KELLY RONALDSON

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