This Tempe-based indie band's new release shows that it has two positive points: plenty of enthusiasm and a refreshing willingness to be open and goofy between tracks, à la The Beatles in Let It Be. During one moment, you can hear studio chatter about what one member of the band seemed to like about a song, and at another, they joke about a band member's hair during a live set. However, what By The Wayside lacks is a voice of its own; the band borrows a bit too closely from the influences they cite on their MySpace page (Taking Back Sunday and Green Day, among others). The music on the disc moves quickly through guitar-heavy rock songs (like the opening tune, "Lesser of Two Evils") before launching into "Thanks For The Fairy Tale Ending," an elaborate ballad that quickly catches your ear, and other more radio-friendly moments, such as "Long Time Waiting" and "Lovesick Suicide." The best moments are when BTW thinks outside of the box: "Blow Your Mind" opens with a Police-like guitar and features a brass section that blends effectively with the other instruments, giving the song a psychedelic feel. The general feeling here is that we are possibly looking at diamonds in the rough. By The Wayside has plenty of time to evolve, and one should not look at this disc as a definitive picture of the group. At least from what we could sample on this CD, one can only hope that they keep evolving.
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