BY THOMAS NASSIFF
Too often, side projects feel stale or compressed, like we’re just hearing leftovers from an artist’s main focus. Luckily with Misser’s first full-length, Transit’s Tim Landers and This Time Next Year’s Brad Wiseman exceed the expectations that accompany such a project and provide a bulky 13-track effort that feels every bit as fresh as their own bands’ respective music. It’s an interesting time for Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person (that’s even more exhausting to type than it is to say out loud) to come out, with both Transit and This Time Next Year releasing the best albums of their careers.
Theoretically, Misser’s debut should be a clinic in indie-pop-punk…and it doesn’t land far off that mark. Landers is the mastermind behind most of the project, and his work in Transit has clearly provided the backbone for most of this record’s musicianship. The guitar work we grew to love on Listen and Forgive comes out of the woodwork here, alternating between well-placed thoughtful slower songs (“Stay Asleep” and “Sanity”) and the expecting punk-tinged standouts (“Weightless” and “Reconnect This,” among others). And although Landers also wrote most of the lyrics, it’s Wiseman who we find taking lead vocals – which works well. Landers’ croon has always been an appreciated part of Transit’s formula – just as Wiseman’s has been for TTNY – but Wiseman seems more aptly suited for the relative spotlight.
That isn’t to say Landers isn’t prominent vocally – the dual vocals are a pure exercise in tradeoffs, but Misser avoids drawing too much comparison to any other bands that execute the style. Perhaps the middle of Taking Back Sunday’s discography is a good comparison, especially when it comes to early tracks like “Time Capsules” and “Weightless.” The latter of the two is the catchy pop-punk song that many fans will be itching for and that we all knew this duo could write – but it isn’t the album’s standout. “I’m Really Starting To Hope the World Ends In 2012” carries the angsty lyrics this genre is known for and the best combined vocal performance on the record, while “Bad News” shows the band’s ability to get dirty in the musicianship. Guitars lead the way here, and the climactic track “Reconnect This” – which sounds like it could have been on Keep This To Yourself – sees Landers and Wiseman trading back, “Dear you / This is the hell I’ve been through / You never asked for me to change / And all this time you were just lying down.” The song will be a fan favorite at live shows if Misser does indeed embark on a tour soon.
The tail end of Every Day is where the instrumentation really takes over. Closer “The Waits” provides the choice cut from the entire record, with the cacophony of yelled vocals in the bridge leading into a fairly length and entirely awesome guitar riff. The record isn’t perfect – the lyrics are definitely a bit amateurish and it can drone on during repeat listens – but Misser has nonetheless provided one of the strongest record of 2012 despite being “just a side project.”
If Transit and This Time Next Year weren’t bands I actually enjoy listening to, I’d tell Landers and Wiseman to give up their day jobs and chase Misser full-time. That’s how much I like Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person. Is it better than Listen and Forgive? No. But if it’s the only Misser full-length we’re going to get, I think we hit the jackpot. And if Misser moves forward and releases more music, well, I’ll be waiting intently for it. This album proves an undeniable chemistry between Landers and Wiseman that hopefully will have the opportunity to blossom in the future.
This review originally ran on AbsolutePunk.net: http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?p=108389972