Nothing worth doing in life is ever easy. We’ve all spoken or heard this old adage at one point or another in life. Nothing worth doing is easy because the reward of the hard work put in toward the goal makes that work that bearable. Ain’t Always Easy, the sophomore album from rock outfit Stone Broken is an example of the value of the ends equaling the work put in towards those ends. Released April 13 via independent record label Spinefarm Records, this first effort for the label from the British band is an 11-song outing that will appeal easily to fans of Theory of a Deadman and other similar acts. Lyrically speaking, it will appeal to any rock fan thanks to the positive messages presented throughout its 40-minute run time. Keeping this in mind, Stone Broken’s latest LP proves both musically and lyrically to be a record that is ready to *ahem* break Stone Broken into the mainstream rock realm.
Stone Broken’s sophomore album (and its first effort for Spinefarm Records), Ain’t Always Easy is a solid new effort from start to finish that proves this British rock band is ready to break out into the mainstream rock realm. This is proven both musically and lyrically throughout the album’s run, starting with its opener, the up-tempo rocker ‘Worth Fighting For.’ In regards to its musical content, one would instantly think this was Theory of a Deadman if one didn’t know it was Stone Broken. This is not only thanks to the song’s arrangement, but also thanks to front man Rich Moss’ vocal delivery. He sounds just like TOAD front man Tyler Connolly. The similarity in the two vocalists’ voices is incredible to say the very least. Guitarist Chris Davis’ riffs and drummer Robyn Haycock’s solid time keeping keep the song moving forward, never letting the song get away from itself in the process. Meanwhile, bassist Kieron Conroy’s low-end expertly compliments ‘Davis riffs, completely filling out the song’s arrangement, helping to make the arrangement wholly infectious and memorable. Its musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it stand out. The noted positive messages are not lost here, with Moss seemingly saying to listeners that despite all of the negatives in the world, one should note give up hope, but instead keep fighting and pushing on. This is inferred as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Head down/Jury’s out/Got some things to think about/Not pointing fingers/But it’s easy to see/Messed up/Outta luck/This is gonna show you up/Communicating your infectious disease/Cut ties/Dirty lies/You’re the first to criticize/Because you’re full of it and everyone knows/Dead beat enemy/Everything you’re covering/Under the weight/the cracks are starting to show.”
He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Big screen magazine/Show us what you’re offering/You’ll realize it’s all just part of the show/Rules bent/Money spent/Wonder where the budget went/That’s not the kind of thing they like to expose/Wake up/Take a look/Haven’t they all got enough/We can’t relate, ‘cause it’s the life that they chose/Red face/Open case/Disappeared without a trace/Why can’t you see that’s how democracy goes?” All of this negativity is countered with Moss and company singing in the song’s chorus, “Stand up/Show them what we’re made of/That’s what we’re fighting for/Don’t wanna lose it all/Stand up/And lead a generation/That’s what we’re fighting for/We’re gonna give it all/Stand up/The world is worth fighting for.” This message of hope and determination is not rare nowadays in music, but it is also not overly common, so it is nice to have a message of not giving up and persevering versus just yelling and screaming about things. It is a message of action, but not violent action. In other words, it is a message that is certain to inspire listeners of all ages. When this is considered alongside the song’s musical arrangement, the end result is a song overall that is not just a strong start for Stone Broken’s new LP, but a strong example of what makes the album so strong overall. It is just one of the songs that serves to show what makes the album so strong. ‘I Believe’ is another piece that serves to exhibit the album’s strength.
‘I Believe,’ instantly lends itself to comparisons to the best works not only of Theory of a Deadman but also to the likes of Black Stone Cherry and other similar acts with its Southern rock-sound. Once again, the teaming of Davis and Conroy creates a solid whole through their juxtaposition that, when joined with Haycock’s time keeping, proves to be just as infectious as any of the album’s other arrangements. And again, Ross’ vocal delivery sounds so similar to that of Connolly that the similarity in the bands’ sounds is undeniable. Davis’ solo in the song’s bridge adds to that easy comparison. Between that catchy hook and the rest of the song’s arrangement, the whole of the song’s musical side does plenty to make the song stand out. Of course the song’s musical side is just one part of what makes this song stand out. Once again, its lyrical content goes a long way toward making it stand out, too. Ross sings here, “Time’s gone/Movin’ on/I guess I’m on my way/Ride along/Singing songs/Just to hit that stage/Lights down/On the crowd/The voices in my head/Hoping some day that I can do it again/I’ve got a feeling you’re gonna get the best of me/You’ve gotta see it and start believing/Honestly, you can be anything you wanna be/I’ve got a feeling you’re gonna have the time of your life/Reachin’ out/I can see/I won’t waste a second ‘cause I want it all/Reachin’ out, I believe.” That’s just the song’s second verse, but it still sends a clear message. The song’s lead verse finds Ross singing about where he’s come from, from sitting in his room, playing on his guitar, dreaming about reaching that dream. He uses that as the basis for his statement that if he could obtain his dream of rock stardom, then anyone can achieve their dreams, regardless of what they are. He sings in that lead verse, “Head home/Music on/A million miles away/I sit down and played around/I practiced every day/Rewind, then do it all again/Hoping someday I’d be just like them.” The chorus, as noted already, drives home that if he can do it, so can the listeners as he sings, “I’ve got a feeling you’re gonna get the best of me/You’ve gotta see it and start believing/Honestly, you can be anything you wanna be/I’ve got a feeling you’re gonna have the time of your life/Reaching out/I can see/I won’t waste a second ‘cause I want it all/Reaching out/I believe.” This is such a welcome, positive message, and more proof of what makes this record such a strong new effort from Stone Broken. It is definitely not the last song that could be cited, either. ‘Home,’ the album’s lone ballad is one more song that can be cited in supporting said statement.
‘Home’ is not unfamiliar territory for mainstream radio, just as the already noted songs aren’t either. This is standard fare about someone being out on the road, away from loved ones, with all of the emotional musical accompaniment to tug at listeners’ heart strings. Musically, it is easily comparable to works from not only Theory of a Deadman, but Nickelback and Creed, too. Ross sings here, “When the nights are getting long/I wanna hear you say/You’re not that far away/I wonder how you’re getting on/I see you every day/When I’m away/When I miss you/I know it’s true/Every time I try/It ain’t always easy/I’m gonna take this on my own/Every time you wanna go/It’s hard when you’re alone/I’m only dreaming/Going right where you wanna go/Got a feeling that you’ll know/It’s hard away from home.” The song’s second verse is not much different, with Ross singing, “When you call me on the phone/You play our favorite song/Reminding me of home/When it’s hard to carry on/I wish that I was wrong/But the days go on and on/When I hear you/I can see through/Every single time/It aint’ always easy/I’m gonna take this on my own/every time you wanna go/It’s hard when you’re alone/Im only dreaming/Going right where you wanna go/Got a feeling that you know/It’s hard when you’re alone.” Again, it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground musically or lyrically. But for mainstream radio, that’s a good thing. It is another song that – much like so much of the album’s entries – is radio ready and will fit in so easily with Stone Broken’s more well-known contemporaries. It most certainly still is not the last of the album’s entries that proves the album so solidly ready for the mainstream rock realm. ‘Heartbeat Away,’ a hard rocker which addresses domestic abuse, is very similar to another song crafted some time ago by Nickelback. ‘Otherside’ is another lyrically positive anthem that touts taking chances in life and living life to the fullest, rather than letting difficult times keep one down. There is even commentary on addiction in ‘Let Me See It All’ and ‘Just A Memory.’ Between those songs and the pieces more directly noted here, the whole of Ain’t Always Easy proves to be a record whose work and effort was worth it. It is a record that is instantly radio ready from start to end and is sure to enlighten and inspire listeners of all ages thanks to its lyrical themes. Keeping this in mind, it is a record that proves Ain’t Always Easy was worth doing and will be worth hearing.
Up-and-coming rock band Stone Broken has proven with its sophomore album (and first for Spinefarm Records) that it is ready to break into the mainstream. It has shown that while making its new album Ain’t Always Easy might not have been an easy road, the work was worth it, as the payoff shows. It is available now in stores and online, and will be available at the band’s upcoming performance at the Rock Allegiance Festival on October 6 in Camden, Jew Jersey. More information on Ain’t Always Easy is available online now along with all of Stone Broken’s latest news and more at:
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