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Music Review: The Status – So This is Progress

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The Status first gained some notoriety after they started getting some airplay on a local Atlanta radio station.  The Georgia-based quartet was then touted by Alternative Press as one of the hottest unsigned bands of 2007.  Since then they inked a deal with Doghouse Records and have released their debut effort, So This is Progress.  What’s ironic is that there’s nothing really musically progressive about Progress.  It’s formulaic pop punk, but there are some catchy tunes here. 

There is an undeniable positivity about the band, and that might be something that will give them some traction, especially during these less-than-stellar economic times.  Lyrically, Progress abounds in uplifting words, echoing the generally jovial nature of the music.  There’s nothing dangerous here kids, it’s all safe. 

The title track exemplifies the lyrical themes (and after years of hurting / so much I felt like breaking / I feel a sense of strength and hope), as does the stomping opener, “Get Back on Your Feet”, (get back on your feet / no more excuses / this is your chance / you don’t want to lose this).  “Where the Heart Is” features guest vocals from Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday.  It also happens to be one of the stronger tracks.  The rest of the CD splits the middle ground.  The songs are good, but nothing to get super-excited about, and one wonders if time will enrich the experience or leave these tunes even flatter to the ears.

While there is an abundance of decent filler, there are a few bona fide stinkers. "America" is an overly earnest, lyrically trite song with vocals that try too hard and not a particularly memorable chorus.  “If there’s Love” is a bad power ballad (cue lighters).  I wonder if Warrant would have even touched this one.  Okay, so nothing is as bad as a hair metal power ballad.  Still this one comes close.

The production is excellent- crisp drums sounds are nicely separated from the vocals and guitars.  It’s a pleasantly surprising change from the spate of overcompressed, ‘hot’ tracked albums of the last few years.  The cover artwork, however, is ridiculous.  It looks like something Overkill would have thrown together in 1986. 

The Status are not the most original band on the pop punk scene, sticking to tried and true formula, and this is not the best collection of music by any stretch.  Still, after a few listens, you can hear some glimmers of a much brighter, more original future.  The Status can look forward to the future, assuming they can stretch their musical boundaries past Progress.

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