The first time I heard The Summer Set, I knew the scene had found its new crossover stars. Love Like This fit the syrupy pop punk mold that was fashionable at the time to a T. When their even poppier sophomore album, Everything’s Fine, reached my mailbox for review in just two years later, it seemed it was only a matter of time until their big breakout.
I thought the same thing in 2013 upon the release of Legendary, an album that raced full steam ahead into radio pop territory, but despite a huge push from Fearless Records and a litany of worthy singles, didn’t latch onto a larger crowd. By the time the band released Stories for Monday last year before going silent for several months, the outcome was clear.
It was sad to hear of The Summer Set’s indefinite hiatus yesterday afternoon, considering how much potential this band has held since its inception. To linger on missed chances feels inappropriate, seeing as the band made some truly great music that I still spin, but it’s hard to still wonder, “What if?”
The Summer Set hit their stride at an exciting time in my writing career. My first big gig to cover and shoot featured the band opening for Yellowcard and All Time Low on the Dirty Work Tour. Later that summer, I was excited to share my review of Everything’s Fine in anticipation of the band’s big breakout. I’ve followed them as a critic and a fan since their beginnings.
I don’t have the answers for why The Summer Set didn’t reach the heights that some expected, but I have no doubt in the individual members’ talents. Jess Bowen remains one of the best drummers in our scene. Brian Dales still has a perfect voice and I’m not counting out his solo endeavors as DALES. I’ll still hold out some hope for an eventual reunion, even if it’s just for one last round of summer anthems.
In the meantime, as another summer fades and gives way to fall, I’ll cue up some of those standouts from early in the band’s career when the sky seemed the limit.
by Kiel Hauck
Kiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Jesse DeFlorio
I feel like the band may get back together at some point as well. Though, I agree, the hiatus wasn’t shocking because of Dales’ solo music, and Bowen began to perform and tour with several other bands. It was a shame because “Stories for Monday” was a very strong release for them.