We get the EP underway with “Living Song” and for all intents and purposes it’s a motivational speech; stand up and follow your dreams, live a little, don’t waste opportunities etc. The opening guitar tone is very much up-beat and firmly embedded within a pop-rock pigeonhole, with its melodic structure, but there also subtle breakdowns backing the track giving it an ever so slightly heavier edge, though its climax has a feeling of, they didn’t actually know how to round it up…it just plays on awkwardly, bringing it down ever so slightly. “(Bittersweet) Fault Line” follows up and again we’re met with that standard alternative pop-punk vibe, think NEW FOUND GLORY etc., it’s very much by numbers here in terms of tone and structure, not to say that it’s unpleasant by any means but, it is what it is. An interesting geographical take on relationships, likening the fragility and temperamental aspects of love to earthquakes…it’s…different.
The title track, the shortest piece here is an intense flurry of punk rock that’s best described as finding itself somewhere between BAD RELIGION and NOFX…it’s short and sharp and the solo is pretty damn infectious too by all accounts despite its blink and you’ll miss it feel; it’s fun and frankly you wish there were more of it! Speaking of fun…”M.E.G.I.A.L” is up next and initially you just know it stands for something but dread to think what…so when it turns out to mean “My ex-girlfriend is a lesbian” your inner-child can’t help but chuckle. The track itself is an acoustic gem and easily the EP’s highlight, you want to feel sorry for him but, really you have to point and laugh when he says “She took off with a she-Hulk”, it’s very self-depreciating, especially the line about the strap-on...absolutely brilliant. There’s no sympathy here really, no matter how unconventionally pretty the she-Hulk may or not be. The remaining tracks “Runaway” and “That One Song” are fine; the former returning to their pacey pop-punk formula, the latter having more of a progressive shoe-gaze tone to close the EP in dramatic fashion, but let’s be honest we’re still recovering from the she-Hulk…they peaked early I’m sorry. Pop-punk fans should embrace these as ones to watch as they have plenty of potential, but even in these formative years they’re clearly able to expand into other genres without creating a mess. They’d be more than welcome at SlamDunk, and someone should make that happen.