While getting lost in the shuffle in the resurgence of pop punk over the past few years, A Loss For Words has always been one of my favorites. Their 2009 release, The Kids Can’t Lose, was one of my favorite records of that year, plus the fact that I’ve seen them live 3 times in very tiny venues has made me grown a bit more “attached” compared to others. After hearing that No Sanctuary was going to be a very diverse release, ranging from 90s alternative rock sounds to hardcore punk, I grew impatient as I counted down the days to it’s release.
We were first introduced to the song “The Hammers Fall”. I was blown away on my first listen. It opens with an awesome, almost “tech/skate-punk” guitar riff that really drives the song. Super catchy and just a monster of a jam.
Singer Matty Arsenault’s vocals shine on this album. He’s always been steps above almost every other vocalist in the genre, but he gets even better here. As odd as it may sound, lots of groovy, R & B vibes are present in his melodies in nearly every song. The album does open with a hard hitter that never lets up in “Honeymoon Eyes”. This is a song that could have fit somewhere on The Kids Can’t Lose. However, it doesn’t take long to realize that they wrote a much more chill album this time around. “Pirouette” has SINGLE written all over it and could blow this band up, while “Jetsetter” is a ballad you never would have heard on their previous releases. The songs don’t do a whole lot for me though.
“Raining Excuses” reminds me of something you’d find on a Fall Out Boy record, especially the guitar strum patterns in the verse and the style of the chorus. “The Lost Cause I Used To Be” is a standout, and features arguably the best hook the band has ever written. “We are bitter, broken people, but at least we keep each other company!” Title track “No Sanctuary” is a fast, blazing song that opens with some hardcore vocals (Apologies, but I do not know who sings this part)… you won’t know what hit you by the time this one ends.
The album closes with “Wrightsville Beach”, a song that is from the band’s early discography. The re-recorded version is absolutely fantastic, and the vocals to close it out are just phenomenal.
The guitar work stands out a lot more on this album compared to everything else they’ve done. The leads and solos have great sound without being too distorted, yet the rhythm guitars are absolutely crunching when they have to be. This album should cater to a lot of people because of it’s diversity and at the same time, old school A Loss For Words fans should absolutely love and appreciate some of the new stuff they tried on it.
Listen to “The Hammers Fall”: