Other than the reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s required sophomore year of high school reading, “The Great Gatsby,” there is quite a bit of cleverness in this debut. Other literary references include the titles of songs: “My Name is Ozymandias” is the opening to the poem “Ozymandias” by W.B Yeats; “Station 5: The Pearl” may be referring to “The Pearl,” a pornographic magazine from the Victorian era; “The White Mountains” could be a nod to the Tolkien verse. “Badd Beat” is an open letter to band promoters who are all too happy “making 10% off the tours we book for you” and the final lessons are that “you gotta use who you can on your way to the middle” and “nothing ever changes in the real world.”
Musically, sometimes the potential cleverness of the album gets bogged down in the same guitar riffs we’ve heard from other bands and the same vocals we’ve had to get used to since Coheed and Cambria became popular. This band has the energy and creativity to do something great, but this may be one of those bands it would be worth waiting for the second or third album. That is, if they stay together that long. Considering the biting cynicism pervading the album, one can’t help but call into question if these guys are already full aware of what “the system” does to young artists.