Subscribe to SoundAffects
email list:

Follow SoundAffects1 on Twitter



CD Reviews: SR-71
SR-71: Tomorrow
November 2002
By: Matt Boltz
album cover of SR-71's Tomorrow

In an era in which many bands are forced to conform to corporate expectations because of the lack of security they are given from one album to the next, it is all too common to see bands think too much or try to do what they feel is expected of them. Particularly vulnerable are young bands coming off a successful first album, who feel the pressures of creating a sophomore album that receives accolades equaling or exceeding those earned by their debut effort. Case in point: SR-71. The Baltimore-based quartet released Tomorrow on October 22, 2002 on RCA Records, satiating fans who had been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to their 2000 gold debut, Now You See Inside.

On Tomorrow, SR-71 acts as if the so-called 'sophomore jinx' never entered their minds. The album's twelve tracks, which include a new version of Non-Toxic, a song that previously had been available only on the Japanese version of Now You See Inside, pick up where their debut left off by giving the listener a supercharged dose of melodic, in-your-face rock and roll. SR-71 defies most attempts at labeling simply because they do their own thing. Rather than trying to produce an album of what others might expect from them, they just did what they do best: be themselves. The new album is full of powerful songs with gripping lyrics that make it easy for the listener to feel the emotions about which the group's singer and primary songwriter Mitch Allan is writing. Former Marvelous 3 frontman Butch Walker, who co-wrote SR-71's 2000 hit Right Now, helped the band again by co-writing the song Goodbye and by co-producing four songs on Tomorrow.

The songwriting on Tomorrow is a consistent combination of meaningful and metaphorical lyrics that can apply to a multitude of life's situations, sung with amazing passion by Allan and backed by music that is at times dark, heavy, catchy, and quiet--- but always fitting for the song. The songs touch on a wide variety of topics, with Allan singing about subjects that seem to be personal, yet to which most people can relate in their own way. For example, he sings about the aftermath of September 11th in Truth, relationships in My World and Hello, Hello, and insecurity in They All Fall Down and in the title track. Although these are topics that have been previously explored in a countless number of songs, Allan and his bandmates use a unique combination of music and lyrics that lends a fresh perspective to these feelings and emotions and allows more than enough room for the listener's individual interpretation. SR-71 is a band that deserves a listen by anyone who is a fan of old-fashioned rock and roll influenced by many of the greats of the past three decades. Allan sings on the track Lucky, "I'd rather be considered lucky than good." Hopefully SR-71 won't need any luck with Tomorrow though, because it is good enough to do well on its own without any intervention other than the exposure they richly deserve.