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Acceptance-Colliding by Design [LP]
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Acceptance

Colliding by Design [LP]

Format: Vinyl   Release Date: 04/07/2017
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Reg. Price: $33.99

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    Track Title

    Time

  1. Diagram of a Simple Man
  2. Colliding by Design
  3. We Can Escape
  4. Come Closer
  5. Goodbye
  6. 73
  7. Fire and Rain
  8. Sunset
  9. Haunted
  10. When I Was Cursed
  11. Golden

As the album sparkles to life, it's a wonder that over a decade had passed between Acceptance's beloved debut Phantoms and their sophomore comeback Colliding by Design. And what a return it is. Over the passage of time, the Seattle quintet only managed to get better, which should come as no surprise given the years they've had to mature, develop, and figure out what truly mattered to them. Much has transpired in a decade. For Acceptance, that included families, regular day jobs, and joining other bands. Fortunately for fans, they distilled all these experiences and poured them into this album. Rooted in their original early-2000s blend of yearning emo-rock and passionate pop-punk, Colliding by Design updates their sound with increased urgency and scope that elevates them into the arena-ready ranks occupied by like-minded pop/rock acts like Coldplay and OneRepublic. Jason Vena's voice remains one of the finest in the genre, while the band -- guitarists Kaylan Cloyd and Christian McAlhaney, drummer Garrett Lunceford, and bassist Ryan Zwiefelhofer -- continue their tight, melodic, and fully enveloping delivery, incorporating some '80s new wave influences as well. Two of these tracks -- "Sunset" and "Colliding by Design" -- are ebullient and joyous highlights, while "Come Closer" can be described as Acceptance's interpretation of Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield." Producer Aaron Sprinkle -- a major part of their original sound -- also returns, providing spiritual continuity to bridge the gap between 2005 and 2017. While there aren't as many midtempo numbers like "So Contagious" or "Different," there's also nothing as raucous as "In Too Deep" or "Breathless." Instead, Colliding is polished and laser-focused, more concerned with grandeur and precision than the messier, heart-on-the-sleeve, emotional bloodletting of Phantoms. Stadium-sized cuts like "Diagram of a Simple Man," "We Can Escape," and "73" are clear examples of that Coldplay (circa XY) and OneRepublic (circa Native) direction, replete with pounding drums, glittering guitars, and soaring harmonies. For the diehards wary of change, tastes of Phantoms can be heard on "Fire and Rain" and "Haunted." Indeed, the Phantoms faithful might need a few listens to fully embrace Colliding by Design -- which is objectively a better-crafted and more cohesive album -- but the payoff is worth the effort. What could have been a nostalgia grab is instead the triumph of a band that chose to deliver on the initial promise of their seminal debut, not only to their faithful fans, but, more importantly, to themselves. [Colliding by Design was also released on LP.] ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi

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