New wave-inspired rock swing has been all the rage in the last few years, particularly on the North American shores of the Atlantic, and in This Time’s brand new album Two, the Canadian crew introduce us to their own take on this surprisingly fascinating trend in music. Starting us off with the college rocking “Around,” This Time barrel their way through a pop single in “Runaway,” kaleidoscopic neon rocker “Be Somebody,” blistering swagger song “Something About” and garage-raw “Solace Unexpected” without skipping a beat, and though the second half of their new record is a bit more complex than the first is, there’s scarcely a moment in Two where listeners aren’t pushed to the edge of their seats by a barrage of boisterous grooves and melodies.
Lyrically speaking, “Runaway” is a transparent but rather predictable choice for lead single here, but on the instrumental end, it’s far from being underwhelming. It has a much better flow than the fat “Street Walking Blues” and forced “The Turnaround” do, and I actually think that a lot of the other songs on the LP could have benefited from its muscular mix. “Right in Front of You” is the only track that comes close to equaling its chest-beating intensity, and while “Caught You in Love” is probably as potent in a live capacity, there’s just no surpassing the punch “Runaway” has when it’s off and running. This Time aren’t overexploiting themselves quite yet, but if they choose to push their music a little more towards the experimental end of the spectrum, I’m certain they’ll break through on multiple levels a lot sooner than later.
Though not perfect by any sort of critical measurement, Two is a worthy listen if you enjoy formulaic punk rock with a meaty pop center and a smorgasbord of nods to the pre-alternative era that birthed acts as wide ranging as The Cure and The Replacements. I would keep tabs on This Time as 2019 transitions into 2020 mostly because they’re one of the brighter acts in the Canadian underground right now, but provided “Runaway” or any of the songs from this LP find a home on college radio, they could easily expand their reach to the United States as well.