by Taylor Dakota
After recently signing with indie label Open Your Eyes Records, New England pop-punk band Another One Down! has re-released a deluxe edition of their debut album, A Bitter Descent. Tackling subjects such as heartbreak and overcoming mental health issues, A Bitter Descent Deluxe's lyrical maturity and sonic diversity prove that Another One Down! isn’t the average pop-punk act.
Consisting of vocalist Marcus Simonini, lead guitarist Brandon Teh, rhythm guitarist Alex Thetonia, bassist Dylan Walsh, and drummer Ryan Beck, the Rhode Island natives first assembled as a band in 2014. Releasing their first EP, Take On The World, the following year, Another One Down! has worked hard over the years to show beyond doubt that they’re one of the most exciting pop-punk acts currently in the scene.
Leading soft, ballad-like instrumentals into fast-paced emo-pop progressions fused with neon pop undertones, Another One Down! uses A Bitter Descent Deluxe to establish themselves as a unique entity with a distinctive sound. Speaking on the album, the band shared, “For a long time, we felt like we were seen as sort of a throwaway easycore act, and we really wanted to prove that we have so much more to offer with this record … We’ve always been inspired by bands who are not afraid to give individuality to each song rather than write the same song 12 times, especially when they’re able to do that and still create a well-flowing record. We truly believe that we achieved these goals … and we are so proud of how the record came out.”
A Bitter Descent Deluxe begins with “Please Don’t Walk Away,” a lyrically remorseful track with a dream-like sound that starts slow but quickly builds momentum. From there, the album transitions into “Empty (Without Me)” and then “Sulk,” both songs having a more classic pop-punk sound yet individually displaying the themes of A Bitter Descent Deluxe. While “Empty (Without Me)” is a resentful breakup track, “Sulk” is where the album’s subject of struggling with mental health begins to shine through.
Track 11, “High,” is another song highlighting the album’s continuing topic of dealing with relationship grief. Somber lyrics are paired with soft, ethereal instrumentals that crescendo towards the end. As the drums kick in and bring energy, the track’s vibe transitions from mournful to frustrated, reflecting the different emotions often felt post-breakup. The title track, “A Bitter Descent,” follows, once again tying in themes of declining mental health. This time, however, there’s almost a feeling of acceptance of these struggles as Simonini croons about finally falling to his bitter descent. In the album’s original release, this is where it ended. But the real stars of A Bitter Descent Deluxe are the four extra songs added to the end of the album for the deluxe release.
Featuring two brand-new tracks called “Good Grief!” and “Betray A Friend” and acoustic renditions of Track 4, “Stuck In The Wake,” and Track 6, “Headspace,” Another One Down! brings new life to A Bitter Descent with the deluxe edition. “Good Grief!” picks up where the album previously left off, continuing to touch on coping with various feelings and emotions, once again with an attitude of acceptance. Lyrically, the song speaks about growing into and believing in the best version of yourself, especially when nobody else does. And the energy of the lyrics is further enhanced by lively instrumentals.
Recently released as a single, “Betray A Friend” has a classic alternative sound. Harsher guitars from Teh and Thetonia pair with Walsh’s heavy bass and Beck’s speedy drumming to give life to the lyrics. As Simonini sings about dealing with feelings of betrayal from someone close, the instrumentals perfectly reflect the emotions behind the song.
Both originally fast-paced, high-energy tracks, the acoustic versions of “Headspace” and “Stuck In The Wake” featured on A Bitter Descent Deluxe show a much softer side of the band. While the original recording expresses the need for space with a frustrated tone, “Headspace (Acoustic)” uses gentle instrumentals for a more sorrowful disposition. All previous sourness felt from the song fades into melancholic remorse. However, the hopeful and comforting energy of “Stuck In The Wake” is only further enhanced by the acoustic rendition. Plucky strings and an upbeat rhythm are kept gentle yet energetic and paired with soft vocals in a way that soothes the listener. As “Stuck In The Wake (Acoustic)” comes to a close, so does A Bitter Descent Deluxe, leaving listeners feeling as if things truly are going to be okay.
With the release of A Bitter Descent Deluxe, Another One Down! once again shows they’re anything but just another pop-punk band. Unafraid to experiment with sound, each track is sonically unique but with enough similarity to produce a cohesive record. So keep an eye and ear out for this band; Another One Down! is on a mission to impress, and so far, they’re succeeding.
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PHOTO PROVIDED COURTESY OF BIG PICTURE MEDIA