My introduction to The Upset Victory came when I saw them perform at Covington's Madison Theatre as part of this year's CEA event. Shortly after, I received a copy of the EP Wall Street from the band. My first impression was that this may be the best-produced CD I have reviewed so far.
The band went to Starlight Studios in Orlando, FL to record Wall Street and worked with producer Brock BerryHill and engineer Evan Coffman. Together with BerryHill and Coffman, The Upset Victory have crafted a sound that is top-notch and completely ready for air-play.
Wall Street is the first release from the band since their 2012 album Before the World Ends. Prior to that, the group worked tirelessly to release a series of EP's and singles and keep their name on the tip of many tongues.
The Upset Victory consist of Stephen Campbell (guitar), Frank Hammonds (guitar/vocals), Eric Vice (bass), Jason Dill (vocals), and Aaron Roy (drums).
Each track of the EP is a powerful mesh of high-energy pop and wonderful vocal harmonies. From the pounding and rhythmic accusations of "Fake This" to the self-effacing "Sellin' My Soul," the band displays rich textures of instrumental and vocal sound as well as a variety of emotional impact.
"In Our Hands" is a true crowd-pleaser when performed live with anthems that can be shouted at the top of your lungs and "Liars and Letdowns," the bonus track of the EP, is the showcase for Campbell's exquisite guitar work.
Before I could complete my writing of this piece, Wall Street found its way into my son's CD collection and I probably won't get it back.
I do, however, have a beef with the band, and that is with their internal identity crisis. They often refer to themselves as a "pop-punk" band and that is just completely inaccurate. That is not to say that this band is untalented - quite the contrary. Their music is intoxicating and completely enjoyable - but they are about as punk as Avril Lavigne or Fall Out Boy. If they could learn to accept themselves for who they are, a heavy-pop band at best, I think they would find their inevitable climb to world-wide recognition a much easier one.
Likewise, if you happen to visit the band's web site or their Facebook page, you will find band photos that desperately try to portray these five as a bunch of tough guys: leather gloves, knives, fancy cars - something like a bad poster for a Michael Bay film. I understand a band has to market themselves and that this might work on some level, but I felt that there was a bit more style than substance, more media than music. Visually, The Upset Victory come off as a band that is rather fond of themselves.
Despite that, there is obviously a lot to like about The Upset Victory because they have many accolades from the press and have earned spots in the 2007 Van's Warped Tour as well as both The Midpoint Music Festival and the 2014 Bunbury Music Festival.
So, if you like bands that will keep you on your feet, make you want to dance and cause you to scream at the top of your lungs for one more song - go check out The Upset Victory at a venue near you and see if they aren't the best pop-rock band in town.