Although A Few Too Many formed in 2009, it wasn’t until vocalist Michael Achilles and lead guitarist Jez Giles joined in 2014 that the band took shape. Three years later, they’ve delivered their debut full-length ‘Lessons Learned’: 39 minutes of high-energy, melody-driven (and at times formulaic) pop-punk.
Taking inspiration from All Time Low and Sum 41, new single ‘Moving Forward’ is a speedy, positivity-fuelled number that will have fans bobbing their heads. It’s massively catchy, a buzzing guitar riff that is reminiscent of New Found Glory’s ‘My Friends Over You’. While the band call themselves “hometown hero[es]” in the chorus, cheesy lines like “I’m moving mountains with my mind” may hold them back.
‘First Last Kiss’ is the soundtrack to long summer nights in the suburbs. The dual vocal harmonies work particularly well here, but aren’t used frequently enough throughout the record. The lyrics capture the drama of dating, easily pairing romance with resentment: ‘‘I wanna be your first last kiss, ‘Cause I don’t have time for this.“
Rattling through verses about high school mischief, ‘Young’ channels the reckless abandon of Blink-182. The bridge gives drummer Sam Howell an opportunity to shine before Jez Giles takes centre stage with a cascading guitar solo.
The album has slower moments too, with varying success. Raw, lonely acoustic ‘X’ is a standout track with plenty of imagery: ‘‘I rip up the floor that we’ve both been standing on”, yet ‘Lessons Learned’ could have easily been cut – it’s the longest track with the least to say.
Hit or miss? It’s a solid debut: plenty of urgent, crowd-pleasing hooks and youthful themes, with some endearing acoustic lovesongs squeezed in. While the band have clearly spent time honing their sound, they sometimes fall into a few too many pop-punk tropes. If they can carve out a niché for themselves, away from the genre’s megastars, A Few Too Many have big potential.
‘Lessons Learned’ by A Few Too Many is released on 19th May.
Words by Clare O’Shea (@Clare_OShea)