After spending some time honing their songwriting chops, tightening up their sound, being played on their local radio station and making a video, the alt-rock Texan quartet Pacific Notion from Mercedes, returns again with Where Do We Begin… their first full length album. The band’s focus on their new release concerns a love story – that oh-so, well-worn path that most of us know when the person you love decides to move on without you and you realize that to stay sane, you must move on as well. The band consists of Jorge on drums, Ben on the bass, Abe on lead guitar and Chris on vocals.
“Love Will Let You Know” is filled with loud, guitar hooks and boisterous, banging alt-rock sounds. A good way to start off the album. “Child” ramps up the tempo with faster rhythms, plenty of crashing cymbals and a post-punk style. The guitar riffs were really good on this one. Starting off “Jewel” is a pop-fused, acoustic rhythm tune with some tender lyrics and a sweet melody. The band sings, “You are just a jewel in the rough… but I can tell you that everything is going to be ok.” And “keep your head up and smile through the pain.” A lot of thoughtful and lovely lyrics here.
I loved the beat to “Under Your Skin” – offbeat, funky and all out alternative. The cool change up is when the band switched into a different tempo and guitar riffs, really making for a dynamic song. “Baby” is a jittery, nervously raucous tune that I could do nothing but head bang along. The lyrics suggest hints at seeking revenge on the one who wronged you or making amends perhaps? – the words came fast so they were hard to decipher. “Stay” begins all out acoustic, light and the words speak of an apology of sorts – “But I’m tired, tired of walking away…this time I want to, this time I’d love to, it’s time to be the one who stays.” This tune is heartfelt and it gets quite deep. A pretty guitar riff joins in at the end.
“What Is This I’m Feeling” starts with a big, bold sound, filling the speakers to capacity. Power chords, and thick bass lines work their way along a melancholic melody that reminds me of The Replacements, or some band like them, that were good at melding together pretty melodies with pop rock guitar chords. These kinds of songs really get to me, worthy of multiple listens in my book. “Grand Slam” begins with an interesting guitar sound and rolling drum action. One of the band’s shorter songs, this one drives on quite nice and I liked how things one fades out slightly and then cuts off. “Warm” sounds like a mix of acoustic Nirvana and another post-grunge band I can’t think of at the moment, based on the melody arrangement. The group has a nice, clean sound on this one and the additional backing vocals were beautiful, not to mention the added strings, which I’m always a sucker for.
The beginning to “Wedding” has a comical beginning with the traditional timeless song heard at most weddings (which can be heard at the end, too). But that doesn’t last for long as the band rips it up good and tight, in this frenzied punk number. Now, get on that wedding dance floor and do the “Pogo!” The band finishes with “Bend” – another acoustic tune featuring a fast rhythm, with a tender melody and a rocking send off about leaving your former lover behind. “Maybe our paths will cross again, and maybe, you and I can still be friends.”
Compared to their 2017 release All Natural, Pacific Notion seem more focused this time around, but their energy and enthusiasm has not let up one bit. And sometimes, that’s all a band needs.
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