CD Review of Only Through the Pain by Trapt
Recommended if you like
P.O.D, Chevelle , Switchfoot
Eleven Seven
Only Through the Pain

Reviewed by R. David Smola


hrough their third LP (not including last year’s live release), Trapt has had a very respectable degree of success both on the singles (“Headstrong” hit #1 on the Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks chart in 2002, “Echo” hit #13 and #10 on the same lists in 2004, and “Stand Up” went to #3 and #17) and album charts (2002’s Trapt went platinum and 2005’s Someone in Control went gold). Only Through the Pain looks to be a continuation of the band’s journey, with their successful formula of producing well-executed and solidly crafted songs within the harder-rocking alternative genre.

The album starts off with the tasty “Wasteland,” which has plenty of catchy and crunchy guitar work mixed with the distinctive vocals of Chris Taylor Brown. This is followed by the equally satisfying “Who’s Going Home with You Tonight,” which has a Gin Blossoms ‘turned up to 11’ feel. The Blossoms have never been this heavy, but they certainly are catchy, as is this cut. The best track on the record – and the one that shows the most experimentation – is the pop/reggae flavored “Forget About the Rain.” Everything about it is catchy: the vocal harmonies are excellent, the guitar is subtle but sharp, and the rhythm is distinctly different than anything else on the record. Did I mention it’s a fabulous song?

In some ways, this band has a bit of the vastly overlooked and underrated Tonic in them. Tonic had more depth, but they both are very clever. Vocally, Tonic was stronger, as Emerson Hart has a better voice and more range then Chris Taylor Brown, but both know how to deliver when singing at the edge of their respective ranges.

The balladry on the album is decent, with the last track, “The Last Tear,” being the one that stands out the most. The chorus is louder but doesn’t build to the extreme that the other ballads do, and this subtlety should be embraced more on future albums. At times, they do appear to be cramming too much into one space, but that is a minor complaint. This record is a pleasant surprise that finds the band continuing to build on a very solid foundation.

The material included with the CD includes the words to each song, which is always a bonus, and the enhanced version comes with a video for the lead single, “Who’s Going Home with You Tonight?” You then have the option of connecting to a website to learn more about the video as well as exploring other Trapt-related content. The joy of grabbing a disc, with art and liner notes and other extra stuff, is a better option than downloading, but the consumer is telling the business otherwise; CD sales continue to drop every year. If you’re looking for a solid effort (with a moment of brilliance or two) by a good rock band, go and pick this one up (or download it, if you must.)

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