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American pop-punk is kicking off in the UK – is it just because they’re American? Hell no. It’s because pop-punk is awesome.
After having a few setbacks in 2012 Such Gold have retained their strength and are back with their debut studio album, Misadventures that oozes impeccable pop-punk. If you have been with Such Gold from the start and you have enjoyed their previous EP’s, you’re truly in for a treat.
The album kicks off with the aggressive, yet upbeat ‘Two Year Plan’, which is pretty much the album condensed into two minutes and eighteen seconds of pure pop-punk brilliance. To be honest, most the songs merge into each other. They’re not particularly bad, just generic pop-punk tunes. However, there are a couple of songs which are more distinctive than the others. ‘Storyteller’ is a lot heavier than the rest and offers a chance for the listener to really appreciate the devotion that these guys have put in.
The lyrics portray a veil of youthful emotion. When vocalist Ben Kotin sings …and I wish that I could say the days alleviate / this artificial pain I never thought that I’d be feeling at this age”, his words strike a familiar chord; this is music you would listen to while trashing your ex’s house.
Kotin’s vocals blend perfectly with the pounding drums and contagious guitars to create a relentless wave of emotional angst and passion throughout. Everything that comes out of his mouth just seems like he is in a hurry to tell you, and that you must know whatever he is saying instantly.
Misadventures has everything that you would expect from a pop-punk record: catchy riffs, great beats and a singer screaming into your ear drums. Oh, and what is a pop-punk song without the whole band shouting in the background? Although most of the songs just get a nod of approval, there are some goldmines – pun not intended. It’s a good album, not spectacular, but worthy of your time none the less.
The Story So Far ‘Under Soil And Dirt’
The California bred outfit The Story So Far, play homage to their pure punk rock roots with their debut full length release of ‘Under Soil And Dirt’.
The Story So Far really does remind of the early Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals era. Taking the raw sound of a band straight out of high school and rehearsing in their parents garage, ‘Under Soil And Dirt’ is the epitome of the American punk vibe. While attacking the genre with nail biting, teeth grinding and frankly pretty awesome guitars. There’s a ferocious thirst for destruction and an intense affection in songs ‘Roam’ and ‘Four Years’.
What does come up fighting fit is ‘High Regard’ which advocates a soaring melody that is without a doubt catchy. The quintet must have vision playing this live in front of a herd of troubled hardcore kids’ fist pumping along. ‘Daughters’ will ensure everyone gives this underrated band a head turning reaction. It could be said that many bands in their genre are dumping various random break downs and heartless arrangements, but with the Story So Far it is crystal clear they put in some serious thought as to who they are.
‘Mt. Diablo’ is super eager to break the punk mold, it certainly does depict a poppier aura with contagious hooks and guitar picking that come straight out of summer, showing the underground scene how it’s done. Frontman Parker Cannon projects a primitive tone with a rebel edge that suggests the likes of ‘Rally Cap’ could play the role of a theme tune in a riot.
The 10 tracks on the album takes anyone listening, to the youthful days spent on the beach, using music to express and reveal all their youthful rollercoaster emotions. It’s not brain surgery to write lyrics that capture those early days but Parker and co are not just a bunch of guys in a band, they’re a talented force to be reckoned with.
The Story So Far’s release definitely fascinates and it’s certainly intriguing to see what they will come up with next. They have the potential to be a favourite on the pop-punk/rock menu rivaling even the big dogs in the game.
If you feel as if your life is lacking some fun pop punk turn your heads to I Call Fives. The quintet from New Jersey left their distinctive sound tickling everyone’s taste buds with their debut album ‘First Things First’ back in 2008. Two years later came the release of ‘Bad Advice’ and now they’ve unveiled their self-title album.
‘Late Nights’ is a confident start to the eleven track album. From the bold, crunching riffs to drums that are full of power providing a true dose of pop punk. Frontman Jeff Todd’s tremendously lively vocals are fitting for such genre. The energy is undeniably contagious and should find its home to all pop punk fans record radar.
Setting I Call Fives apart from other bands in the genre is how they have managed to maintain a certain power throughout their band, despite a change in singer. Jeff has so far made a splendid first impression with this release. ‘Obvious’ seems like the perfect sing along with chorus lyrics ‘When it all comes down to the facts/you can’t admit when you’re wrong’.
From first listen ‘Back Up Plan’ is at the heart of I Call Fives style, bringing attention to a greatly memorable melody. Fourth track ‘The Fall Guy’ stays true to their pop punk roots, avoiding a mature style that the likes of All Time Low and Hit The Lights have recently adopted, yet what still exists with I Call Fives is a genuinely raw sound that the five guys have mastered throughout this record. There doesn’t seem to be any intension of pleasing the mainstream radio stations or setting their sights on playing big production shows at arenas across the globe, it still feels sincere.
‘Stuck In ‘03’ and ‘Enemy’ are a tornado of energy which never gets boring. The lyrics remain stubborn, youthful and fun with lyrically the best chorus emotive pop punk has to show:
‘Sometimes you just can’t wait , I’m more than happy to not fit in (with your friends), I hope you don’t make it home , Someday that you’ll face it, Cause the world doesn’t spin for you’.
If there’s anyone still waiting to be won over, ‘Two Sides Of Every Story’ can guarantee to do the job. With an irresistible intro, layered vocals and an effortless tougher edge, I Call Fives are carrying the flame for a genre they are taking lead of. Closing songs ‘Regrets and Setbacks’ and ‘Sleep Well’ have the potential to stay stuck in many an existing fan’s head, they’ve also got the potential for them to spread their wings and gain interest from a wider audience.
STRAIGHT LINES w/ Evarose, Streetfight Silence, Ascent
Face Bar, Reading
13th October 2012
With arguably a decline in show attendance in the scene at the moment, smaller scale gigs are always going to suffer on an absolutely miserable Saturday night. It seems that the temptation not to venture out in the torrential rain to Reading’s Face Bar was too strong for many as Ascent open up to a grand total of five people. A few more dawdle through the door mid-set but there is a large void in the centre of the room as punters head to the bar rather than appreciate the performance in front of them.
Its really disheartening to see a band play to so few people especially when they are actually pretty decent. Reminiscent of Francesqa, the Newbury based band certainly have a great level of musicianship. The gritty and slightly unclean vocals would set them apart from their peers, if there were people to listen…
Next on are local-ish Streetfight Silence, their presence has an immediate impact as a fair number gather around the stage to engage with their You Me At Six/Lower Than Atlantis inspired pop-punk. ‘We Must All Learn’ is a polished rock song and forthcoming single ‘Low’ is instantly appealing with a dirty, chugging baseline and catchy chorus. By upping the tempo the band captivate the small crowd in what can only be seen as a success in tough circumstances.
The first of the touring bands to perform is Evarose. By being and all girl quartet the group are already standing out from the others, but if you let the music do the talking rather than appearance, they are not so different; its fairly standard pop-rock. Their sound is solid, there are a number of tracks that are pretty good but unfortunately its nothing astounding. However what is impressive is vocalist Dannika Webber and bassist Connie Raitt doing their up-most to hype up a dull audience and their enthusiasm is refreshing. It must also be noted that Robyn Griffith offers some unique fills behind the kit making Evarose sound stronger as a unit.
Headline act Straight Lines have an individual tone to their music; slightly jangled guitars and jerky riffs allow them to be comparable to rock outfits such as The Xcerts, Tiger Please and Max Raptor. Front man Thomas Jenkins is a typically friendly and upbeat Welsh-man attempting charismatic chat between songs. Displaying flashes of humor such as greeting the audience with ‘Hello Reading Festival!’ is an endearing quality of the band.
Although there is little movement in the audience, it’d be fair to say that Straight Lines have a successful night in Reading. By mid set they are playing to a reasonably full room who seem to be fully appreciating the music, but just in a stand-there-smile-and-rock-your-head kind of way. The performance reaches its highlight towards the end when ‘Ring The Bell’ and ‘Commitments’ (taken from the band’s latest release ‘Freaks Like Us’) demonstrate Straight Line’s talent in song-writing through their attentive ear for melody. Straight Lines are a band full of promise, their dedication to touring the circuit gives them much credibility. Lets hope their commitment sees them rise up the ranks like they deserve to.
Following their two-year hiatus, breakthrough pop-punks Yellowcard have announced that they will be releasing their seventh studio album, titled ‘When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes‘ on March 21st 2011 through the revered indie label Hopeless Records.
The band have also announced that they will embark upon their first UK tour with All Time Low next year.
They play the following dates in March:
1st – Dublin, Olympia
3rd – Nottingham, Rock City
4th – Birmingham, 02 Academy
5th – Newport, Newport Centre
6th – Liverpool, Liverpool University
7th – Leeds, 02 Academy
9th – Glasgow, Barrowlands
10th – Newcastle, UK – O2 Academy Newcastle
11th – Manchester, UK – O2 Apollo *SOLD OUT*
12th – London, UK – O2 Academy Brixton *SOLD OUT*
13th – London, UK – O2 Academy Brixton *Extra Added Date*