For fans of the pop rock/pop punk alternative genres, Acceptance may be a name you’re familiar with already. Their debut album ‘Phantoms’, released in 2005, saw very little critical response and was typically well regarded, selling tens of thousands of copies within the first year and eventually gaining the status of cult classic. The pop rock quintet now bring us their sophomore studio album, following a lengthy 9 year hiatus.
Colliding By Design begins with an instant array of reverby guitars and synths laid over an intimate melody. Dubbed ‘Diagram of a Simple Man’, this introductory track is an engaging and passionate piece and sets the standard relatively high for the remaining songs. The secondary song is the title track of the album and follows the same sound signature of airy reverb and simple, yet engaging melody – this time with a slightly dancier and faster chorus. Topped with carefully crafted lyrics and an effortless delivery from Jason Vena, ‘Colliding By Design’ (the song) is a fitting title tune and makes for a pleasant listen, whatever your mood.
This airy and atmospheric vibe continues as we progress through the album we’re presented with faster paced tracks like ‘Come Closer’ and ‘Fire And Rain’ that are catchy and vibrant, along with more heartfelt material like ‘Haunted’ and ‘When I Was Cursed’ (the additional female backing vocal on this song is a real compliment to Vena’s serious and slightly electronic tone). But as the album draws to a close, I can’t help but notice that we’re not really treated, in my opinion, to a song that breaks the mold or makes a real impact.
While I was holding out for that one song that would really blow me away, the lack of one isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Colliding By Design is a beautifully constructed collection of tracks and is the perfect embodiment of the band’s growth. You can tell that each member of the band has evolved in their own individual way and while this cleaner, more contemporary sound still retains some reflection of their past work, it’s clear that Acceptance have grown up. Definitely worth adding to a playlist but a real punchy hit seems to be scarce. Perhaps I’m not ready to let go of Phantoms just yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to their next release.
"Definitely worth adding to a playlist but a real punchy hit seems to be scarce"