The classic glass half empty, or glass half full; you’re going to have to tell me on Dr Doak’s release, It’s Time To Leave. It’s an ambiguous mix of pop punk, grunge, and rock; and it’s hard to say if the aspects of those genres were optimized and fully realized. However, letting one person’s uncertainty taint an album before you even dig in is pretty weak, so buckle down and dig through the ups and downs of this release and see where your balance is at by the end of it.
Things kick off with the track “I Wish For.” At one point, you may get the feeling that this song has some similar feel to “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones. The drunken Mick Jagger phrasing and slop is smeared across this album, but it is a hard mojo to deliver without sounding a bit off. Underneath the vocals of this track is a clean build of mood guitar and steady drums. The build goes and eventually crashes into a climax. Some peculiar sounding keys are slapped amid the other generally conservative tones near the end of the song. Keys that sound like they’re straight out of an old SEGA console game of Sonic the Hedgehog. Even after the first track, you’re still unsure of what style you’ve immersed yourself in. Not being able to put a finger on it is always an interesting spot to be in.
The second track, “Maps,” rolls in with the same ambiguity. Are those guitars supposed to sound sloppy? Is this grunge or is this off? There’s an infinitely fine line between the two and figuring out where this blips on your radar will set the mood for the rest of the album. There are some freaky synth sounds on this track that really helps the song sound more convincing, but there seems to be too much back and forth between solid and shaky aspects on a song-to-song basis. Again, perhaps the vocals on “Right in Front of You” are executed to perfection, but there seems to be a lack of conviction in the performances. The tones and style stay pretty consistent throughout the entire album, which on one hand is great; you find a sound and are able to stick to it. On the other hand, it’s tough if you’re on the fence about the style because there isn’t a lot of fluctuation in sound to help you pinpoint some pros and cons.
The trippy synths make a big return in “There Was a Place.” Mixed with some fuzzed out guitar, it really does have that arcade-theme vibe. Beyond the tone choices though, the songs seem to lack the push and pull dynamic that usually takes you to the end of them. The dynamic stays too consistent throughout the duration of the album, and nearing the end you start to feel like you’ve heard the hooks before. That being said, if those hooks are your fucking jam, you’re in luck. The last few pushes the album makes in its final songs drops you off where it began, and you may not be sure if that’s where you wanted to end up or not. Full Circle? It the kind of feeling you would get if I were to simply end the review right here.
Written by Ben Cornel
*edited by Danielle Kenedy