L.A.-based band Act As If started in 2010 as a solo act for lead singer Peter Verdell, after he quit his job as a record rep to go back to school for music. He quickly picked up a band after his first release and the group started playing shows throughout L.A.
The quintet released an EP together in 2012, “The Iron Is Hot,” but have yet to release a full-length album together. Various songs the group has released have been features in a number of television shows, mostly between MTV and the young-adult demographic shows of ABC.
That all will change with the release of “Steady,” a full-length album that the band has been working on for the past two years. Stage Right Secrets was able to get a listen to the album before it drops, and here’s what we thought.
The album’s title track, “Steady,” is the first on the album. It’s pace matches the lyrics, “steady as we go,” with a consistent but slow pace. It starts with piano and Verdell’s vocals, and continues to add layers as it progresses. It’s a pretty but fairly unremarkable song. It’s an curious choice for the first song on the album, since nothing else on it sounds like this one.
“L.A. Kid,” the second track, is the first single from the album. It’s very different from the previous song, being upbeat and poppy. It has the vibe of a windows-down nighttime drive around a city like L.A. Verdell’s vocals mix well with female-singer Sara Lindsay’s in this track, and throughout the album.
“Uh Huh” is reminiscent of a pop-song that would be found in a 90’s chick flick set in California. It brings to mind sunshine and beaches and convertibles. It’s hard not to jam to.
The fourth song, “Keep Me By Your Side,” again highlights their SoCal roots, and ties the two styles they’ve shown so far (“Steady” and “L.A. Kid”) together, by showing a less poppy/upbeat side like in “Steady” but maintaining the Cali vibe of the other songs that start the album. It focuses on layered vocals and guitar riffs that would fit perfectly in a live show with crowd interaction.
“Let You Go” starts with guitars that sound fit for an arena before bringing in Verdell, drums and Lindsay. It talks about letting go of a rocky romance, rather than continuing to hurt each other. Although the lyrical style is somewhat depressing, the vibe of the song overall is one of freedom and relief.
Rhythm guitar kicks “All Our Friends” off. “We’re not good at growing old” is a lyric that really stuck out to me in this one, and gives a good impression as to the overall theme of the song. It’s one of my favorites from the album lyrically.
“Break Your Heart” is next, and sounds much the same as the previous few songs, although it features some lovely vocals from Verdell. “Talk To God” switches the sound up for a few seconds before the verses but quickly sinks back into the group’s typical soft-pop/alternative style. Still, it does a decent job of breaking up the monotony of sound that the last three or four songs have provided.
This monotony is again broken up with “Easier,” as this one sounds more like “L.A. Kid.” This one features some pretty fab lyrics and metaphors to tidal waves. If I could choose a second single for the group, it would definitely be this one.
“Anchored At Sea” continues with the water references of the last song, but aside from that is quite different from the previous. It still sounds very fitting for the album but is much more like “Steady” than anything else has been on the album to this point. It’s in my top two from the album, along with “Uh Huh.” Verdell and Lindsay’s vocals really shine on this one as the song progresses. I’m a sucker for a power-ballad though, so I might be a bit biased toward this one.
The album wraps up with “It’s That Simple,” which focuses on piano and Verdell’s vocals, like the first track “Steady.” It’s a sweet song, and does well to bring the album full circle.
“Steady” gives off an overall California kids vibe, which is fitting considering that is what Act As If are. It works well for their target demographic, and any of the songs could easily fit into a television show as many of their songs have done in the past. The group sticks solidly to the sound they have created for themselves, and while it gets a bit boring and repetitive through the middle of the album it was a good listen and the first and last three tracks make it worth the time. Be sure to check the album out when it drops.