Australian five-piece Tonight Alive continue to distance themselves from their pop-punk origins on their slick, but mostly confident third LP.
Over the course of their first two records, the Sydney-based group underwent a subtle shift from exponents of fairly straightforward pop-punk and emo to something a bit more expansive.
Recorded with veteran producer David Bendeth in New Jersey, Limitless seals their full pop crossover with an accessible, uplifting, and very mainstream sound.
What might be considered a sellout by some can sometimes be a positive move when handled with finesse, and Tonight Alive make a convincing go of it on soaring anthems of empowerment like "To Be Free," "Drive," and "Power of One." Aiding their cause is frontwoman Jenna McDougall, whose bold pipes are powerful enough to drive the more rock-centered tracks and emotive enough for the ballads, of which there are quite a few.
For the more cinematic rockers and singalongs, this high-end studio polish works well enough, but sadly it's the glut of banal ballads like "Human Interaction" and "The Greatest" that drives down Limitless' value and injures the band's credibility.
Using big-label money to take your band to another level is certainly no sin, but there are some tracks here that feel a bit like pre-fab sync licenses in search of a TV drama.
On the other hand, a strong power ballad like "Oxygen" somehow soars on the wings of its own unabashed earnestness, showing how fine a line Tonight Alive are treading in their gambit for fame and fortune.