New Jersey based Can’t Swim’s Fail You Again is a pop-punk album with a heavier element. The album is well put together as far production is concerned, and the band has synergy. The theme seems to be standard of this style with personal lyrics of love, loss, regret, but with some sort of positive push beneath the depressing blanket. Music of this category generally sounds like egomaniacs dumping out their bottled emotions, but with some posi-macho-bravo approach, usually rendering it to nothing more than whiney pop-punk. Fail You Again is not an exception to this equation.
“What’s Your Big Idea” has loud and fast paced choruses, tuned down verses, and is verse chorus verse over and over. The theme is perhaps about not wasting time, but regardless it is simple lyrically and rhythmically: something to fist-pump and chant along to. The rest of the album follows suit. “One Shot” is another standard song structure of this style. The music is styled to sound restrained, and build anticipation that will give way to some sort of release, break, etc. This track builds to a minimalized instrumental with some bleak lyrics being shouted over it. It isn’t clear if this is about being suicidal out of loneliness and broken hearts, or telling someone they’ve got one chance to make a decision on a relationship. Regardless this song has been driven into the ground within this scene over the past decade or so. The final track, “All the Moves We Make are in the Dark,” finishes the album off with another emo-pop-punk anger-driven sad song. The vocal melody is simple and catchy, but lyrically sounds forced in order to rhyme. In the end the simple melodic and catchy chants are uncomfortable. There is a “break-down” of sorts in the end that displays a cringe-worthy attempt at gang vocals.
Fail You Again is another album that can be filed under pop-punk, and confused with the rest of the mess within the category. The only clear nuance they have is the singer’s voice, not vocal style but voice. They are also slightly more on the pop side of the spectrum, and make greater use of their melodies simple chant-along parts. One will be left unmoved or agitated by this album, or they will enjoy it. For fans of their fellow bands of the scene such as their touring mates Four Year Strong, then this album will be great. Otherwise, save yourself the trouble and pass on the half-angry clean Converse push-pits.