CJ Burton, lead singer of Rome Hero Foxes, recently said that the bands latest album For When You’re Falling Backwards is “for anyone who feels they’ve lost control and don’t have something to grab onto.” This sentiment is echoed over and over again on the new LP, and the pop/punk/alternative genre is well suited to capture the essence that Burton wants to get across.
The album starts out with one of the best tracks to be found on the bands new endeavor. “Falling Out,” has a punchy, in your face, introduction. It walks the fine line between a standard alternative song and something a bit harsher. Burton’s vocals on the chorus are out of this world as he reaches for the high notes, layered, and filled to the brim with raw emotion. As Burton slides into screaming, it slightly takes one out of the general mood of the song, but it is such a short section of the track that it’s not enough to take the tune down too many notches. It creates a memorable first track even if it is not perfect.
“Bad Thoughts” is downright a perfect alternative/pop piece of music. It is jammed pack with lyrics such as “and I said I’d never care about how you were never there/but the truth comes out and I’m alone and scared,” again playing on the central theme of the album which help to foster the creativity behind For When You’re Falling Backwards. The chorus is energetic and a certain synergy makes it come to life with an enthusiasm that is not to be matched on the entire album. As Burton sings “and now you’re just another thought gone bad in my head,” listeners will be compelled to feel as amped and charged up as Burton. It’s the type of song that holds an edge but is still friendly sounding enough to be on top 40 radio.
A heavy feeling permeates the surface on “The Cold” from the ballad like tone to the brilliant lyrics and spot on harmonizations. “You’ve been hiding under bed sheets/for far too long/and this could be the reason why I’m/always so God Damn cold/I’m always looking for someone/anyone to warm my bones,” Burton cries out with such candor and beauty that one cannot help but fall under the spell that is weaved throughout the track. It has a different, toned down, less peppy feel and like so many of the tunes on the LP are very relatable. As Burton expresses “it’s spring and I’m still stuck in the fall,” listeners who are going through a rough patch may find that line very significant to their own lives. Rome Hero Foxes may have hit their darkest moments on “The Cold,” but it is also the clear standout track on the album. Take a listen and try not to get emotionally invested. Just try.
“When We’re Older” brings For When You’re Falling Backwards to an end and it does so in a fashion that many high charged albums tend to do: with a stripped down ballad. And while this could come across as just a calculated move on the bands part, it actually makes sense to bring the album to a close here as it has a more positive outlook. “So don’t look at me like I’m a stranger/there was a time when we were closer/and if every ending has a reason maybe we can try out another season,” Burton sings, again wishfully, and one can’t help but root for him to find some peace, even if it isn’t right at this moment. Quiet and vulnerable, “When We’re Older,” gives listeners something to grip onto, a hope that they may have forgotten along the way.
While many of the songs on this LP are very effective and successful, there are a lot of tracks that just don’t measure up to the high standard that the band has set for itself. “A Note for my Departure” is a bit too frantic and the screaming while effective to depict the raw emotion does nothing for this reviewer, in fact it knocks the track down a few notches. “Hunters” offers up nothing particularly special and comes across as quite standard for the band, while “All I’ve Ever Been,” just blends in with the lesser songs and is forgettable. Not any one song is truly bad, and like most albums, not everything is going to be golden, but there are enough superior songs to make For When You’re Falling Backwards a mostly enjoyable listen.