Music engineer Ian Richards and vocalist Jack McCracken have collaborated together composing a project ten years in the making, hence the album title The Ten Year Program. Stemming from the mid ’90s punk rock revival, the duo wanted to shared its history with punk, emo and post-hardcore that shaped them in the early 2000’s. After touring with several different bands, the two men decided to take their fate into their own hands, ditching the big wigs studio heads and producers, and realize a vision that was all their own.
The Ten Year Program opens up with the energetic “Ambien Wet Dreams.” While the flow is upbeat, the dire song title is reflected even greater within the desperate chorus - “These are the pills I take to fall asleep, I’m not as restless as you think I should be. I am numb, silent- motionless with hands folded over me.” The following track titled “A Double Shot for One” is a breakup song. We’ve all taking shots while reminiscing over an ex. The poetic lyrics are the focal point as the instrumental takes a bit to build up leading to McCracken screaming near the end which is very effective.
“A Drop on the Tip of My Tongue” is the highlight of the album. It puts you in a trance with its soothing vocals and catchy chorus while a screeching guitar leaves listeners mesmerized. The abstract sound doesn’t devolve into chaos but instead has echoing arrangements layering over each other. “1000 Words” is much more dramatic and drawn out causing a slower pace.
The last two songs are filled with emotions and have excellent music composition that ends the album on a strong note. “She’ll Have What I’m Having” is less of a breakup song but more in the moment of a romantic relationship. Though the beginning has its good times, sadly mistakes pile up leading to bitter separation. “A Conversation Amongst Dying Friends” reflects the words being said to a friendship that barely exist anymore and if it is even worth trying to save.
The duo of Richards and McCracken should be proud of their debut album The Ten Year Program. The album has solid song writing accompanied by advanced composition and arrangements. It evokes emotions with its upbeat pop rock ballads to the more grim vibes. The vocals emote both sentiments of struggles with getting older and the brutal pain of failed relationships. The pair show their post hardcore roots but is very much an emo type album. Still, songs like “A Drop on the Tip of My Tongue” can be enjoyed by anyone.
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