This album is great for an introduction to Waking Ashland, for the fans that have been around since the beginning… not so much.
Let’s be honest with ourselves before we go any further. This is a growth album. Every band has to put out a crappy album where they grow on to get to an elite status. It’s one step backwards to two steps forward, a shallow hole, etc., etc.,etc. This is Waking Ashland’s one step backward.
Not to say that this album is a total waste, because it’s not. There are three good tracks here. The jumpy, “Handful of Names” is excellent, as is “Diamonds on the Hillside.” My pick for the album though comes in at track 5. It’s oddly intriguing with some funky sounds thrown in, and the intro and the ending of the track are both the highlights of the album.
This album isn’t great, but it still doesn’t deserve an outright bashing. Waking Ashland is still one of the best bands out right now that nobody has heard of and this album does nothing to change that, so it can’t be all bad. I think the next album will be about 5 times better than this one and that they’ll finally get out to the rest of the public the next time out. But they do have a lot of work to do before that happens. Dive into the bands older stuff before you bust into this, but definitely still check out these guys.