Guitars dishing out burnt-end riffing collide with synthetic melodies as smoky as any of the notes flooding from the fretboard are welcome us immediately upon pressing play on the new single from This Time, “Runaway,” and although the first twenty seconds of this track are perhaps its most exciting, they don’t represent the only excitement the song contains. Studded with a fun pop groove and simplistic but smart harmonies, “Runaway” is a fair example of what you can expect to find across This Time’s new LP Two, which from where I sit serves as a strong upgrade from their initial offering in One.
Most all of the material on Two, like “Runaway,” has a slight 90’s-style rock influence to it, but I don’t know that I would go as far as to call songs like the pensive “The Turnaround,” angsty “Right in Front of You” and clandestine pop track “Street Walking Blues” straight up throwbacks to the old school. For the most part, This Time are pretty good about balancing their roots with some heavy-handed, contemporarily stylized hooks (“Caught You in Love” is a good exhibit of this), and they rarely tread the lazier waters of their pseudo rivals on the cover band circuit.
The harmonies in the closing number “Mother’s Son,” startup track “Around,” “Solace Unexpected” and “Be Somebody” are, in my opinion at least, somewhat more expressive than any of the lyrics we hear in this record are, and personally I would like to see This Time employ this formula again in their future work. They’re focusing more on structuring something specifically pleasing to the ear than they are making a track overtly calculated or ultra-ambitious (as is the case with the rather exotic “Something About”), and if they’re able to refine these elements more in their third album, they’ll be in great shape moving ahead.
An undeniably interesting sequel to their virgin LP that teases what may well be possible for the future of their band, This Time’s Two is an easygoing pop/rock release trying to find an audience amidst a generation that hasn’t always gone for the simpler stuff on the radio, but I think it’s a worthwhile listen just the same. Two might not be the most detailed album I’ve listened to all December long, but I will say that for the stylization it’s been afforded by its clearly talented creators, it’s a lot stronger an effort than many of its contemporaries are.