Sometimes a band emerges that people just can’t resist. You could hate their style and everything they stand for either as a band or individuals, yet you’ll still be humming the chorus of their latest single days after you dared to give it a listen. The Summer Set is one of the bands. Love them or hate them, they’re here to stay… and you probably know the chorus to ‘Chelsea‘ off by heart, regardless.
By now, The Summer Set know the tricks of the trade to draw in the crowds. Stories For Monday is their fourth studio album, a monument to the evolution they have inevitably gone through. Their days of drinking, falling in love with every other girl and partying are seemingly over, as their lyrics alone have matured tenfold. The quintet are plying at the pop industry, but still are managing to hold on to their roots in the slightest of ways… so for the time being, guitarist John Gomez still has something to do.
‘Figure Me Out‘ was the first single released when the band announced their new record. The huge chorus isn’t to be scoffed at, and neither are the melodic similarities to ‘Baba O’Riley‘ by The Who. The Summer Set may be an out-and-out pop rock band, but their influences are noticeable across their material both old and brand new. The lyrics reflect the band’s, and in particularly lead singer Brian Dales‘, struggle as they’ve climbed the ladder to fame.
The “American Dream” is a frequent theme throughout this album, whether it’s being appreciated, or “woken up from” as is the case in ‘The Night Is Young‘. The Summer Set are presented as a squeaky clean, all-American outfit… though believing it or not is the choice of the listener. Regardless, their lyrics can be inspiring, such as, “don’t give up, when you’re down“, a simple message that will no doubt be of great use to their fans. The “American Dream” is mentioned yet again on a later track, ‘All Downhill From Here‘, which is without a doubt the most ‘rock’ song on the album. The guitar licks alone are to die for, paired up with Jess Bowen‘s powerful drumming, both unavoidably overshadowing Dales’ vocals.
One of the best tracks on this record is ‘All My Friends‘, a catchy tune with funny, relatable lyrics. Dales tells the tale of being in love with someone who his friends don’t approve of, backed by one hell of a melody that proves that the band have really hit it out of the ball park with this one. The big sing-a-long towards the end is a cute touch, assuring that this gets stuck in your mind for hours.
Unfortunately, The Summer Set also let themselves down. ‘Jean Jacket‘, as their third single release from the album, was promoted as one of their biggest songs to date that would finally get them the recognition they deserved. The resulting track is far from what’s expected of them, falling flat after having its bar set so high. It’s generic, boring; a severe disappointment from a band who can do so much better. Perhaps this one would’ve been better off as an album track.
While Stories For Monday is, in theory, a good album, it becomes drab at times which stops it from being one of the best… even of their discography. It’s doing a fine job of tiding over their fans who were desperate for new material in a time where the band nearly called it quits, but it just seems too far-fetched to draw anybody else in who haven’t listened to them before.