1. Anthem For The Underdog
2. Lie To Me
3. Broken Road
5. It Was You
6. This Dark Day
7. World So Cold
8. Arms of a Stranger
9. Hey Love
10. Games You Play
11. Lie To Me [Acoustic]
12 Stones‘ third attempt. While their debut was a strong one, a rough, unpolished gem, their 2nd album couldn’t live up to the expectations. It still had some quality songs, but overall 12 Stones just did better on their debut. But now they are back with “Anthem For The Underdog”. Slightly more mainstream, but they haven’t lost the rough alternative edge. “Anthem For The Underdog” shows more variety and creativity than both their previous albums together. It shows growth and guts, and it can put 12 Stones back on the map. With the lead single Lie To Me, this album might well prove to be their real breakthrough.
Anthem For The Underdog
The album starts off with the title track. The song is typical for 12 Stones but you can really see how they’ve grown as musicians. Everything is just that little bit tighter and more complete. Also the production is better than it was before. A very good choice to open the album with. It gives the listener what it expects and it makes it eager for more.
Lie To Me
The perfect lead single for the album. Lie To Me is one of the strongest, if not the strongest track on this album, and maybe even their best song so far. There are times where this song reminds me of Dishwalla. And no band should be ashamed to be compared to that band. However, the comparison doesn’t completely go, because with Paul McCoy’s superb vocals and the typical twist that 12 Stones gives its songs, this is first and foremost a 12 Stones song. Catchy hooks and great rhythm. Like I said, perfect single for this genre. 12 Stones has been featured on the Spiderman soundtrack before, and this song could well make it on another superhero movie like that. Lyrically & musically this song would be a perfect fit.
The album ends with the acoustic bonus track of Lie To Me. This version might be equally impressive. Even with the relatively limited resources of an acoustic setting, 12 Stones creates an impressive sound that works really well.
I was listening to this song, and my mouth was wide open. 12 Stones shows a lot of growth here. It’s nothing like any of their other songs. It might be more mainstream, but it sounds like 12 Stones has found its comfort zone here. I know critics are gonna say something like they’re trying to hitchhike on the success of Nickelback. But I think that’s nonsense. It is definitely in the same genre as Nickelback, but it sounds nothing like them. This song has great hooks, and would be a killer on mainstream rock radio. 12 Stones has done it. They took the time to develop and find their comfort zone, and it seems they have found it. Well done, 12 Stones!
An appropriate title for this song. Because this up-tempo rocker is filled with energy. It’s not really old-school 12 Stones, it actually reminds me of Three Days Grace and the likes more. But it’s great that 12 Stones varies it up a little and that they show their skills on a pure, intense rock song. A lot of bands that play up-tempo rockers have songs where the vocals sort of drown away. However, on Adrenaline, 12 Stones shows, that there’s no reason for that.
It Was You
It Was You is another quieter, more mainstream song. I could start comparing again, but what’s the use. Because it can remind one of many other bands, but not really one in particular. So that, in itself, means that this song has a sound of it’s own. It might not sound like the 12 Stones on their previous two albums, but like I said before, they hadn’t found their comfort zone yet, and they seem to have found that on “Anthem For The Underdog”. This track is full of guts and it is very convincing. Cautiously I would like to ask: “follow up single?”
This Dark Day
12 Stones get back to some real convincing rocking again on This Dark Day. With a little tendency towards industrial, this alternative rock song is another side of 12 Stones in which they excel. And something they already mastered on their previous releases is writing great lyrics. The story of struggling and making it through your darkest day is something many people can relate too. “I’ll close my eyes/and I’ll drift away/I’ll make it through my darkest day”. Probably one of the best tracks on the album.
World So Cold
This track took some getting used to. I was speaking of 12 Stones’ comfort zone. This song is not really them. I’ve seen some mixed reactions to this song, and I guess that’s how I’m feeling about it. In it’s own way it is actually catchy, but it’s not entirely convincing, because it just doesn’t seem to fit. Things don’t fall in place. My advice: strip down the song, to a more acoustic sound, lose the strings and add some subtle piano, and maybe a little more bass. Then crank up the tempo a notch, and you’ll get a mainstream 12 Stones song. But maybe it’s just me. But I think this is just too bombastic, too ambitious. And even though it was an admirable attempt, it doesn’t work out for 12 Stones.
Arms Of A Stranger
Not a bad song, but absolutely nothing special. Nickelback, Dashboard Confessional, Splender, Three Days Grace, and especially Hinder are making exactly the same songs. It might actually catch on, since music like this is doing well lately, but where the rest of the album is great in originality & creativity, this track definitely lacks it. It’s too bad, but let us not dwell on this, since there are more tracks to enjoy.
Hey Love is a pretty decent song, though definitely not one of the stronger tracks on the album. I felt like it never really got going. It just keeps lingering on. It definitely has a nice flow, but it just keeps going, and it could just use a little more work, in my opinion.
Games You Play
Then, unfortunately, we get to the last track of the album. Which is another typical 12 Stones song, pretty much in the tradition of their previous releases, just better, stronger and performed with more balls. The way we started the album, and the way we end it. The circle is full.
12 Stones has returned, and re-claimed it’s spot on the map. And with honor. Although there are a few songs that didn’t completely convince, 12 Stones is hard on their way to settle in their comfort zone with a mix of alternative rockers and well-built mainstream rockers and rock ballads. If they keep exploring their boundaries there and use the enormous amount of variety & creativity that they have in them, this is by no means the last we heard of them.