I Prevail
(Fearless Records)

When your band is best known for a Pop Goes Punk cover, it’s fair to not have high expectations for their debut full-length. For Michigan’s I Prevail, their “Blank Spaces” cover, while fine, showcased a talented band somewhat lacking in personality. It’s an affliction that affects many new post-hardcore groups, as there are just too many bands with big choruses and bigger breakdowns, so it’s really difficult to stand out and make an impression. Thankfully, I Prevail is able to leave a mark through Lifelines; the problem is that it’s a real mixed bag.

What’s arguably most problematic is the band puts its absolute best foot forward, with “Scars” showcases Brian Burkheiser’s pristine pop-punk vocals and some massively addictive riffing. Much like fellow punk-y hardcore groups like The Ghost Inside, Stick To Your Guns, and (most obviously) A Day To Remember, when I Prevail is at its best, the group deftly combines curb-stomping grooves with arena-ready choruses. Other sonic standouts include “Chaos” and “Already Dead” hit similar points, where it feels like a pop-punk group were told to study up on modern metalcore and give it their best shot. Unfortunately, the latter track hits at a big problem throughout the album: the lyrics. When they aren’t riddled with generic uplifting platitudes (their name is I Prevail for a reason), the band resort to some awful lines. The chorus of “Already Dead” features this poetic wonder: “If I could bring you back to life, I would kill you again.” I’m no T.S. Eliot, but so much of what I Prevail is trying to say falls flat. In the more positive notes, hopefully the message is helpful, but Lifelines isn’t the best vessel for said advice.

Further, I Prevail is perfectly fun and partially impressive when they indulge their heavier side; however, when the band embraces their pop-punk side fully, the results are not great. “Stuck In Your Head” isn’t mentally infectious, and I hope I don’t have to hear “One More Time” another time. The less said about the bad attempts at balladry (“Alone” and “My Heart I Surrender”) the better. This means that much of the record is too slow or lacking in a proper punch, making for a frustratingly uneven listen. I Prevail are a talented band, and their hooks, riffs, and breakdowns are solid, but they haven’t quite broken through yet. Here’s hoping they learn from their mistakes on this inconsistent debut.

Purchase Lifelines here.


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