The Wayside Shakeup’s sophomore album delivers as promised. Optimistic is a fun, euphonious, and hook-y ten track reflection of its name.
John Mcleod (bass), Rob Volansky (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Chris D'Antonio (vocals and lead guitar), Eric Raible (vocals and keyboard), and Mike Leger (drums) have created an album that can wiggle in between a variety of genre classifications and styles. Optimistic is the clear product of eclectic influence. “Love is Temporary,” for example, sounds like the blues of someone who has grown up listening to Eric Clapton and Taj Mahal. It’s funky and rounded and rich. “Goin’ to See Her,” begins with echoey harmony that evokes a full and surprisingly familiar resonance—like gospel meets country. The final track, "Tallest Building in Town," is poppy and gentle and it rocks the listener to proverbial sleep. Just as though it were the final ballad on the last night of a twelve month arena tour.
Then there are the lyrics... From "I got one more chance and I just might take it," to "I'm becoming somebody I can't understand," to "If you don't let it go, then you'll always know what you didn't grow up to be." They run the gambit from upbeat, to sorrowful, to suggestive (in terms of offering advice, not teen pop star M.O.)—once again, a testament to the breadth of the group's musical preference and experience.
Optimistic is the second album in three years for The Wayside Shakeup, and hopefully the start of many more. It's refreshing to hear music that is creative, affecting, and unabashedly designed to make a person feel good.
Purchase the entire album at your local internet record store... iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.