Review: Escape Route by Through the Motions

Ever find yourself just going through the motions of living? Out of Nashville, Tennessee, a band of the same name is here to give you an escape route—literally! Through the Motions is an Emo Pop Punk project formed by Rob Tomlinson (Guitar/Vocals), Stefan Wright (Drums), and Colbe Barret (Bass). Their latest album, Escape Route, is scheduled to be released on all digital platforms on October 18, 2019 to rescue you from the monotony of daily life.

“Escape Route” guides us into the album with gentle acoustic guitar tones and soothing faraway vocals with reflective lyrics: “When I wake up / I’ll go and get my shit together / It’s gonna be a long night / And I won’t make it better….” The spaces between each note and measure are what stand out in this track: Musicality lies in the tension between notes as well as what is said in each sound that is present. The quietness of the first half of the song also means that the sudden crescendo of sound in the second is even more powerful and shocking. While I didn’t totally appreciate the jump-scare factor (don’t listen to this track while driving!), the power behind the rest of the instrumentals joining in the track was impressive.

“Point of View” continues the energy generated in the previous track with classic rock-based instrumentals and muted vocals. As a whole, the instrumentals mesh well and every part is fairly balanced and contributing to the song’s aesthetic. Out of everything, the bassline stands out in this track: Despite its relative simplicity, it guides the melody as well as the rhythm section without sacrificing style with slides and fills to keep things interesting. Perfect for fans of classic pop punk, the lyrics of “Point of View” cover the basics of a classic story of love and loss: “It’s love at first sight / Every single fucking night / So I know / I’ll tell you ’bout the first time I fell apart / Fell in love with a broken heart / It’s in my mind / And all I do is keep you in this point of view.” When matched with catchy riffs and pop punk delivery, “Point of View’s” lyrics make for a sure hit.

The next track is titled “It’s A Process.” It echoes the sheer catchy factor of “Point of View,” but takes on the deeper tones of a slightly slower song style while keeping to the pop punk genre. Again, the bassline is impressively present in the mix, effectively balancing out the guitar and cymbal tones in the higher end. The brightness created by the combined instrumental parts makes me want to listen to “It’s a Process” over and over, particularly due to its sheer energy. The overall aesthetic of the track reminds me of artists I have previously reviewed such as Tie Goes to the Runner and Kissing the Klepto, but also classic, well-known groups like Good Charlotte and New Found Glory.

“Voyeur” was released on September 19, 2019 as Through the Motions’ debut single, but it also appears on Escape Route. The track begins with driving guitar lines and rhythmic percussion that keep everything steady for the drifting vocals. Out of all the songs on Escape Route, “Voyeur” has to be my favorite thanks to its lyrics: “You’re the lighthouse to guide me home / In my head when I’m all alone / You’re the frequency coming in clear / Saying don’t worry baby, I’m right here.” Although the lyricism is there in other songs, there’s something special about “Voyeur’s” writing as well as its phrasing. Combined with flowing-yet-rhythmic instrumentals, the delivery of the lyrics creates something truly special.

“Lost My Eye in the War” begins with a focus on clear, lightly accompanied vocals before flowing into a full instrumental backing. Out of all the tracks, “Lost My Eye in the War” is the most dynamic in terms of musical movement. Each instrumental line flows through verses and choruses with confidence, creating a solid song overall. The overlay of people talking echoes the mention of modern-day problems faced by today’s young people: “All my friends are high or they’re clean / Or they’re macking on girls with low self-esteem / Or falling apart with anxiety / At least they’re looking good on my Instagram Story / I just wanted to tell you in person / This is gonna be the death of you / The death of you.” Commentary on the focus of the digital world has become a relatively common theme in the music world today, but Through the Motions handles it in a way that is new and full of depth, making each additional listen reveal something new.

The acoustic vibes from the beginning of the album are brought back for “Lightning Arms.” Sweet, soulful vocals are the focus of the track, leaving plenty of room for the lyrics to shine: “If I’m being honest / I’m kinda impressed / With how long you left that weight on your chest / You were breathing in spring but you were obsessed / With the passing of fall / And if I’m being honest / Your parents knew maybe / You should never have to bury your own baby / I should have called you more but / Can you blame me / It’s such a goddamn mess / But I’m doing my best.” The lyrics are quite heavy, but their truthfulness rings true, making the track one that will likely be a favorite for many listeners.

Although “Lightning Arms” is simply a singer and a guitar part, it holds its ground in the album, particularly where it is placed in the record’s order. Leaving a quiet moment for contemplation before the last song is always a hit in my book, as it allows listeners to reflect on the current track, previous songs, and even the album as a whole. The clear emotion in “Lightning Arms” is certainly there and a lot to take in on its own, but the track also does the perfect job of beginning to bring closure.

The final track of the album is “The Book of Eli.” It brings in many similar musical themes from previous tracks with a solid, energetic bassline, trickling guitar riffs, and rhythmic cymbal work that complements the gaps in the vocals nicely. While the track is pretty relaxed, it also has a quiet vigor to it that befits a final song. The buildups of tension and their controlled explosions take us to a slightly heavier space at the end of the song before dropping into stillness for a hushed ending. While “The Book of Eli” isn’t my favorite track of the album as it doesn’t stand out in my mind as much, it is still a solid song and a good choice for an album-ender.

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