Street Corner Symphony were arguably the fan favorite group during “The Sing-Off” in its second season. With innovative, fun performance after innovative, fun performance, it was really no surprise just why they were so well-received. In the end, they had only fallen short to the tight vocal harmonies of Christian R&B group, Committed. Since their “Sing-Off” run, the group stuck together and worked hard on their first album under a particularly cheery work ethic: “unpractice makes perfect.”
Their debut album of the same name featured primarily covers with a couple of originals mixed in for good measure. Their sophomore effort, “Southern Autumn Nostalgia”, features all original tracks for the very first time, all written by group members Adam Chance, Mark McLemore, John Martin, and brothers Jonathan and Richie Lister. After one full studio album and a slew of successful “Sing-Off” performances, the group’s ability to arrange and perform something great in terms of bringing their own flavor to a cover song is no longer in question, but since this is their first time releasing an album chock-full of originals, there is reason for listeners to be skeptical of their latest work.
More or less, the group thankfully proves themselves to be a competent group of songwriters. Tracks such as the hopeful “Emily”, the melancholy and Radiohead-esque “Love a Loser”, rock ballad and titular track “Southern Autumn Nostalgia”, and simply beautiful “Picturing You” help to exemplify this idea. On the other hand, tracks such as “Dragon Rider” come across as parodies- in this case, one of just about every heavy metal song ever created. While they are intended to add to the album’s lightheartedness and get across to listeners that Street Corner Symphony are primarily a group that’s all about having fun, one person or another will set these tracks under heavy scrutiny.
All in all, though, with a work ethic like “unpractice makes perfect,” it’s already established that these boys are all about spontaneity and pure fun. So in a way, things strangely work no matter how different in tone the two tracks are in comparison to virtually the rest of the entire album. At the very least, it makes for a memorable end with a whole lot of character, which is more than one could say for half of the mainstream industry right now. For some it’ll work and for some it just won’t and that’s just a part of how the world works: you can’t please a person with every last thing that you do. On the overall though, it is pretty certain that Street Corner Symphony will be pleasing their dedicated listeners greatly for years to come.
At the end of the day, it can be safely said that the boys of Street Corner Symphony have developed a particularly solid first collection of all original songs. Their production is solid and all of their arrangements are top notch. Vocally, they produce as tight and impressively varied delivery per each track as possible. Some will find the comedic quality of the album’s last couple of tracks a little overbearing and strangely juxtaposed by comparison to the rest of the album, but it’s arguable that occasionally incorporating such fun surprises into some of their works is just another part of what the boys are all about. That won’t appeal to everyone, but it doesn’t need to. Overall, Street Corner Symphony is as stellar as and has as much heart as ever, and their sophomore effort still proves itself to be a delightful addition to one’s summer playlist.
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