‘Easycore’ took on a life of it’s own somewhere after the turn of the decade, when A Day to Remember’s commercial success encouraged a lot of imitators to combine aggression with sing-alongs. But with so many different bands trying variations of this theme, who’d have thought it would take until 2016 for I Prevail to make the archetypal easycore album with ‘Lifelines’?
Crafting stratospheric hooks guaranteed to stick in your head is a prime feature of the songwriting, and the Michigan sextet are very good at this throughout. This is showcased as soon as ‘Scars’’ chorus is hammered out the traps, as Dylan Bowman’s chunky guitar tone provides melodic slabs born to be played in bouncing arenas.
They aren’t the first metalcore group to let profitable hard rock influence their songwriting. Beartooth can balance on the line between moshpit and wrestling ring music, but much of ‘Lifelines’ takes cues from angsty radio rock, felt in ‘Outcasts’’ attention seeking cries of “Fuck your futures, fuck your rumours, we’re everything you never thought we’d be,” and ‘Already Dead’s refrain of “I’ll bring you back to life and then I’ll kill you again”, delivered with a machismo that becomes laughable after remembering this group rose to prominence by covering Taylor Swift.
When I Prevail try going sentimental, the impact actually feels restricted by the extent of over-production on this album. Vocalist Brian Burkheiser’s delivery on ballads ‘Alone’ and ‘My Heart to Surrender’ feels held back with his voice hidden behind layers of synthesisation reducing any personal connection.
Ultimately ‘Lifelines’ could be satisfying if you’re looking for a set of catchy songs to mindlessly move your head to, but that’s it. It’s as deep as a paddling pool, has lyrics targeted at an impressionable youth and is devoid of any unique personality. If I Prevail have made the ultimate easycore album, give us something more challenging.
Lifelines’ by I Prevail is released on October 21st on Fearless Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)