French punk rock four-piece The Amsterdam Red Light District likely is not a band with which most American rock fans are familiar. Over the course of almost ten years since its creation, The Amsterdam Red Light District has released two full-length studio albums and an EP. The second of those full-length record, Gone For A While, was just recently released for the world to hear. If the band’s latest album is any indication, The Amsterdam Red Light District will be around for a while rather than gone for a while. That is the band will be around for a while given the chance by American radio programmers and open-minded audiences. Those programmers and listeners that actually give this surprisingly enjoyable record a chance will hear an album that barely lets up from start to finish. The frenetic energy established early on in the album’s opener carries throughout the course of the album’s roughly thirty-eight minute run time. The only time that it lets up even the slightest bit comes halfway through the record in the short instrumental track ‘Final Boarding Call.’ That song runs just over ninety seconds. But in that time it does plenty to help break up the record’s ten total tracks and in turn make Gone For A While a record that is a breath of fresh air within the realm of punk rock. Right off the top, the band—Elio Sxone (vocals), Maxime Comby (guitars), Julien Chanel (drums), and Gregory Clert (bass)—sets quite the tone in the album’s opener ‘Time Flies.’ Both musically and lyrically, ‘Time Flies’ grabs listeners by the ear and the mind and refuses to let go. Sxone waxes philosophical in this seemingly singing about letting go of all of life’s negatives and remembering life’s positives. That supposed message set against the song’s manic energy makes it a wonderful first impression from the band on this record. The seeming lyrical and musical positivity exuded by the band in the album’s opener is carried right over into the album’s second song ‘Just Have a Good Time.’ Lyrically, it presents something of a carpe diem message. And again, that same wild energy presented in the album’s opener is quite prominent here with the song actually bordering between hard rock and punk. It’s one more clear cut example of what makes this record stand out so brightly among all of the other hard rock and punk bands out there today. If the energy and the messages of the first two songs on Gone For A While aren’t enough for listeners, then ‘Million Miles Away’ is sure to get listeners moving. While it maintains the same musical energy of the album’s first two songs, it does change things up lyrically. This time, Sxone covers the standard topic of a broken relationship. But it isn’t one of those typical ‘Oh woe is me’ type of songs. Rather it is a proud moment in which Sxone’s subject exits the relationship with pride. The song’s musical backing adds quite a bit of punch to the song, too. And while it is the third track in on the record, it is still just the beginning of the ride presented in Gone For A While. By the time the album ends, listeners will agree that in Gone For A While, The Amsterdam Red Light District is sure to be around for a while.
The Amsterdam Red Light District has proven on its sophomore full-length record that given the right support from American listeners and radio programmers alike that this band is sure to be around for a while. The band and its new album stand out from so many of the punk bands that populate punk’s various sub-genres from start to finish on this record. The album walks a fine line between the worlds of punk and even hard rock without ever letting itself get bogged down into any of those sub-genres in question from start to finish. This is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Time Flies.’ ‘Time Flies’ is such a strong start for TARLD due to the juxtaposition of its almost philosophical yet seemingly optimistic lyrics and manic musical energy. Front man Elio Sxone sings against the song’s musical backing, “I found myself alone/I found myself in the desert/I had nothing but a piece of paper/I found myself alone/Can someone tell me what happened/Here is what I wrote to you in this letter/This is not the real world/If life seems so unreal to you/Keep your eyes fixed on the sun/Time flies but memories will stay with you.” Sxone is speaking metaphorically, obviously. He seems to come across as saying, if life doesn’t feel like it should, then look for the positives in life (I.E. life’s memories). That argument is made stronger as Sxone sings, “I can see many faces/Standing in the rain/Their lives seem to fade away/I’ve seen so many people/Waiting for someone who could save them/Looking for some better day. He goes on to sing the previously noted chorus, reminding listeners “Time flies but memories will stay with you.” Again, it seems as if Sxone is reminding listeners that no matter what, there will always be positives in life, even if they’re in the past. Such a possibly positive message set against an equally powerful musical backing proves this song to be the perfect first impression from TARLD on its new album, an album that is anything but a sophomore slump.
TARLD sets a great tone for listeners with the opener Gone For A While. The song mixes a musical backing that is sure to have listeners on their feet with a lyrical message that seems to send a positive message to listeners. The end result is a song that every listener will love regardless of their familiarity with the band. It is just as solid a first impression for those that are new to TARLD’s music as for those that have been following the band since its inception nearly a decade ago. The positive vibe exuded by the band in its new album’s opener doesn’t let up after the song ends. In fact, that same energy is carried over into the album’s second song, ‘Just Have A Good Time.’ This song leaves no question as to its message as Sxone sings about making the most of life. He sings against the song’s full-on musical backing, “Not gonna be the one/To stay there/Waiting to the end/Not gonna be the one/Just talking to myself/Heaven can wait/We’ve got something to do tonight/So don’t be late/Don’t be late/You will not be the same when the morning comes.” Simply put, Sxone comes across as expressing the sentiment that a single day can make all the difference in a person’s life. And that would go right along with what seems to be the song’s overall theme of taking life by the proverbial horns. He goes on to sing, “Jump into the crowd/We’re outside in the middle of the night/Just have a good time.” It echoes the previous line’s sentiment of making the most of each day. And again, set against the song’s thrill ride of a musical backing, the song is even more of a wonderful representative of what Gone For A While has to offer audiences.
Both ‘Time Flies’ and ‘Just Have A Good Time’ are excellent examples of what TARLD has to offer audiences in Gone For A While. They are hardly all that the band has to offer audiences, either. The album’s third track, ‘Million Miles Away’ is proof of that. The song tackles the standard lyrical topic of a broken relationship. But unlike so many other songs of its ilk, ‘Million Miles Away’ takes the road less traveled, presenting a man that has made a clean break in said relationship. As Sxone sings in this song, “I’m driving this car a million miles away/A million miles away from you/There’s nothin’ you can do/I’m driving away from you/Because you know it’s over now/Put the pedal to the metal/I wouldn’t come back anymore/Cause tonight, tonight I’m on the road/And I will not be alone.” Such a defiant tone in a song that tackles such a standard subject makes the song shine amongst all of those songs. It makes the song well worth the listen by itself. The song’s equally driving musical backing adds to the song’s edge, making it even more of a success. Sxone goes on to essentially sing about how he is headed full steam ahead and not looking back as he sings, “Pretty girls, long legs/Tonight is gonna be perfect/Because you know we’re just men/Dancing with ladies all night long/We’re gonna tear this place down/And I will not be alone.” There are other songs out there that take a similarly defiant tone in covering such a subject. But they are few and far between. Even with there being other songs of this style out there, the more self-pitying style ballads still outnumber the more head-held-high moments. That knowledge makes this song even more of a welcome addition to Gone For A While. It is one more addition that along with every one of the songs that follow makes Gone For A While an album that is just as enjoyable as any of its more well-known major label counterparts.
Gone For A While is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via the band’s website at http://www.tarld.bigcartel.com/product/gone-for-a-while-lp-2014. Audiences will also be able to purchase the band’s new album in February when it gets back on the road. The band currently has a number of performance dates in Spain beginning Friday, February 27th. The band’s current tour schedule runs nine dates from February 27th – March 7th. Full details are TBA. Audiences can keep up with those details and all of the band’s latest news online at:
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