Acceptance - Colliding By Design

Review by Nikk Banos

Acceptance is a pop-rock band from Seattle, WA, and last week they dropped their first record in 12 years since the release of the beloved classic, Phantoms. After the band encountered problems with their old label, Columbia Records in 2005, they fell off the grid; until now. Colliding By Design is a lush, atmospheric, synth-heavy but still very rock n’ roll record. Producer Aaron Sprinkle, a major part of their original sound, also returns. 

It’s apparent immediately that the band gave their sound quite the face lift since their more pop-punk/emo debut more than a decade ago. Synth swells and tension builds then instantly explodes into “Diagram of a Simple Man,” an epic-pop opener that sounds like a wonderfully executed 30 Seconds to Mars and Kings Of Leon hybrid with ‘80s new wave synths, acoustic guitars on the verses, arena rock drums, and reverb soaked electric guitars. It sounds like it wouldn’t and shouldn’t work, but it does. Vocalist Jason Vena drives the song with the elegant hook-line, “We live in black and white, we dream in color.” 

A few tracks later is “Come Closer,” possibly the most spacious song on the album. The guitar, drums, and backing vocals dance side-to-side throughout. Whether or not it is a jab at listener’s nostalgia, the track sounds a lot like what we really wish Linkin Park was still putting out, short of the rapping and record scratches. Vena’s voice could be described as a mix of Martin Johnson (Boys Like Girls) & and Ryan Tedder (One Republic). 

Guitarist Christian McAlhaney (ex Anberlin) doesn’t shy off of the dotted-eighth The Edge-inspired delay throughout the album. For those weary of change, the band thought ahead and threw in songs like "Fire and Rain" and "Haunted” which are much more comparable to their old material. For those ready for it, you’re in for a treat. With songs like “73,” “Fire & Rain”, and “Sunset,” Acceptance bounces from sounds like All Time Low to Coldplay to U2 to Muse to Bastille to The Dangerous Summer and back again seamlessly. Colliding By Design is a well poured cocktail of all of the different styles that you grew up on, balancing out the music from your high school emo phase and the classics you grew up on. 

Acceptance is will be touring with Taking Back Sunday in Australia in March 17th-23rd and will hopefully be releasing US dates soon. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Listen to "73"