The Bottom Line – ‘No Vacation’

By Gem Rogers

As gaps between debut and sophomore albums go, seven years is pretty extreme – especially for a band that resides in the eternal churn of a genre like pop-punk, where visibility and popularity is key to survival. It doesn’t seem to have fazed Brit four-piece The Bottom Line though, as they return to blast a dose of sunshine into eardrums everywhere with their sophomore full length, ‘No Vacation’.

The album opens with leading single ‘Reasons’, a song that was accompanied by a star-studded video on release last summer – and as ways to grab attention go, getting your pals in Simple Plan, Neck Deep, and Mayday Parade to sing your tune has to be a winner. It’s also a solid, classic pop-punk song, as “I’m sick of singing without reason” kicks off a classic tale of striving against all odds to be true to yourself, boasting a thoroughly sun-drenched vibe and sparky guitar reminiscent of Lit’s ‘My Own Worst Enemy’.

In fact, the whole album jolts a few flashbacks to late 90s/early 00s pop-punk and punk rock; The Bottom Line have managed to harness the power to sound a bit like a Blink-182, Sum 41, Less Than Jake and New Found Glory supergroup. It helps that front man Cal Amies often sounds almost eerily similar to Less Than Jake’s Roger Lima – no bad thing, though it’s helped by the American accent Ellis adopts when singing.

There can be no doubting that The Bottom Line have perfected the early pop-punk sound, with the surfy, vibrant ‘Gone’, the slightly slower, reflective ‘Doomed’, and the aptly named ‘California’ standing out instantly. The trouble is, their adeptness at replicating classic era pop punk is the very reason there’s nothing here we haven’t heard before – despite a few highlights and plenty of hooks, it’s largely just too generic and, though perfectly enjoyable, much of the album fades into the background.

Although not managing to capture anything especially original, the clean and spirited sound of ‘No Vacation’ shows The Bottom Line have the skill to create music to satisfy even the fussiest of classic pop-punk fans, with upbeat riffs and singalong choruses out in full force. More importantly, among the standout tracks there is brilliance that demonstrates what they can be capable of if they’re able to break away from some of the cliches of the genre – and we hope it won’t take seven years for us to hear more.

GEM ROGERS

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