Comparing every female-fronted rock band to Paramore seems to be the norm nowadays, with flame headed front-woman, Hayley Williams gaining goddess status in the music industry. It takes a defining sound or album to break away from this comparison and for Poughkeepsie-based band We Are The In Crowd, they have achieved this with the release of their third album Weird Kids.

While maturing musically, the five-piece still manage to maintain their defining pop-rock sound with angst-ridden lyrics and soaring choruses remaining at the forefront of the album. Opening with ‘Long Live The Kids,’ the piano and strings introduction compliment the velvety croons of vocalist Tay Jardine, an emotive and powerful opener setting the scene for the remainder of the album. Lead single ‘The Best Thing (That Never Happened)’ peppers the album in attitude and sass. It’s punchy, it’s confident and it’s quite possibly the best material in the We Are The In Crowd’s back catalogue.

The defining call and response singing style of Jardine and co-vocalist Jordan Eckes remains the backbone to the album, the intertwining male/female vocals giving an edge to the music, something that the majority of the pop-rock genre lacks. ‘Manners’ showcases the split vocals in all its glory, the soaring chorus demonstrating both co-vocalists’ ranges over the raging rhythm section. Splitting the vocals enables the Poughkeepsie band to place themselves in a league of their own, differentiating them from the mounds of pop-rock bands on the scene.

An aspect that defines this album from the band’s back catalogue is the diversity emphasised on Weird Kids, no more so than through the tear-jerker ‘Windows In Heaven.’ Bringing the fast-tempo pace to a halt, a simple drumbeat accompanies Jardine’s stripped back vocals. As the front-woman croons, “I’m doing fine, but sometimes I cry when I see your face. Are there windows in heaven?” her naked vocals with the sparse instrumentation creates a beautifully haunting tone and a perfectly crafted song.

Yet, hands-in-the-air choruses and playful guitar riffs still manage to encapsulate the record, emphasising this is a We Are The In Crowd album. They may be maturing and expanding musically but it seems nothing can get in these pop-rockers way.

Niamh Moore

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