The Cab – Symphony Soldier

Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska Krieger

Unless you’re fully immersed in the pop-emo scene, The Cab may have escaped your attention. The production of the band’s latest album, Symphony Soldier, had its ups and downs and the significant turnover in terms of band members and even the choice to leave their former label all could have caused the album to bomb. Despite all these challenges, the album has a slick, shiny feel and all the guest musicians add to the overall strength of the collection.

That said, this is not an album for those that don’t care for highly produced pop rock. “Angel With a Shotgun” seems demure enough (for pop) as it begins however the song segues from a more mellow sound to something much more fitting for the energy of a live performance. That same energy is maintained throughout the album and has a bit of a guilty pleasure infectiousness to it. “Bad” is more R&B influenced than most of the other tracks but it still manages to mix in a little bit of pop rock as the song progresses.

Bruno Mars’ influence is clearly felt on the co-written “Endlessly” which may verge a bit into cheesy territory on some of the lyrics but still keeps pace with the sound and style thus far established on Symphony Soldier. To some degree, “Animal” is a bit of a relief after some R&B-heavy songs with its slightly grittier sound, but don’t think that things are getting overly intense. “Animal” sticks to some of the same themes (girls) but does it with a more intensely pop-influenced style.

“Her Love Is My Religion” doesn’t have the most catchy beginning, but once listeners get to the chorus the song begins to become more interesting. Sure, it’s still that shiny, plastic-wrapped pop, but it’s kind of fun to listen to and there’s a lot to be said for a good chorus. “Grow Up and Be Kids” is another co-written track with assistance from Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) and John Feldmann (Goldfinger). One of the best tracks on the album, it finds a fun and funky balance between genres that almost mimics the paradox in the title of the song.

The Cab’s sophomore album could have fallen to pieces as the band saw a virtual revolving door take away and replace band members. Despite the chaos, the final product is an entertaining mix of genres, artists and influences. Not all of it quite ends up being fully successful, but there’s enough fun to be had to make it a worthwhile listen.

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