Album Review: The Playbook – “All I Am Is What You Left Behind”

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The Playbook are a fantastic but largely unknown pop-punk act from Melbourne, Australia, and tomorrow they will be releasing their debut album All I Am Is What You Left Behind. The band previously released a three track self-titled EP back in 2015 as their first release with vocalist Laura D’Urbano, featuring a new spin on their sound and some great steps forward for the band. Going into this debut album I was hoping this sound would further be developed and the album would be full of quality tracks like the EP, and it definitely didn’t let me down.

All I Am Is What You Left Behind shows musically The Playbook are growing, with a great catchy sound, fun up-tempo tracks, and some great lines peppered throughout. The themes of the album follow the general pop-punk flow of relationships lost and feeling out of place, but doesn’t feel obnoxious in doing so. The whole band providing backing vocals at times feels very nostalgic of late 2000’s pop-punk, and the layering of vocals on tracks like “Falling Short” and “Something To Live For” add a great element to the band’s sound.

An early track on the album, “Sleep State,” lights up the first half of the album beautifully. The track has a bitter and angry spark to it with some great rhythms leading to a very nice acoustic section, building into the always welcome gang vocals. Right on from here we go into “Regardless…”, a gentle acoustic track that serves as an opener for “Reach.” An incredibly strong section of the album building very well to the anthemic line “Regardless, you’re gutless” which just begs to be yelled out at a live show.

“The Law of Motion” has a wistful ballad aura around it, featuring cello and violin sections to create a nice lead up to the ending section of the album. The track transitions straight into the up-tempo “Visions Once Golden,” with a similar theme of loss but showing the more pop-punk side of the band. The track features great tempo and sonically some of the best sounds the band has made. Whilst The Playbook sit comfortably in the pop-punk genre lyrically, musically they infuse elements of melodic hardcore in similar to how bands such as The Story So Far or fellow Australians Trophy Eyes do in a very sonically pleasing way.

“Something To Live For” is a faster and harder track than most of the rest of the album, moving into that melodic hardcore leaning sound the band’s previous EP touched on. The track features a great dynamic between Laura D’Urbano’s ranged voice and some background yells. A very quick but effective track to lead into another slow builder in “Resolutions Like Fireworks.” The track name is amazing, and the song follows that quite well. The common theme of loss of love seems different on this track, much more sorrowful and self reflective, a permanent loss focused in on as opposed to a breakup. A moving song as the penultimate track on The Playbook’s debut album.

There’s still a lot of growth left in The Playbook, after getting a new vocalist it took a little while for them to find the direction they wanted to go in, but this album is a great sign of them finding just that. They’ve got a very solid pop-punk mixing with melodic hardcore sound on the album, with some stand-out impressive moments, and from here their sound needs to keep developing until they fully find their own unique place. All I Am Is What You Left Behind is set to drop tomorrow, February 12th, but you can listen to the singles “Reach,” “Locked Away,” and most recently “Visions Once Golden” below.



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