By With The Punches
Following a string of storming EPs, With The Punches release their debut full length 'Seams and Stitches.' For readers unfamiliar with the band, With The Punches play breakneck, double time pop punk with hardcore influences. Yet, there's layer upon layer of melody and a keen sense of pop that cements the record. With so much potential shown in their early releases, With The Punches manage to refine their sound on 'Seams and Stitches.'
While some modern pop punk bands have decided to delve into existentialism and poetry for inspiration for their lyrics, With The Punches keep things simple. Twelve songs about girls, heartbreak, moving on and betrayal. On previous releases, the band often toyed with breakdowns and some shouts - this is completely gone and may disappoint some fans or delight others. As I said, With The Punches have refined their sound. They now play straightforward pop punk, and that's not a bad thing.
Opener 'Riverside' sets the tone for the album. The energetic drums, sweet melodies and a super catchy chorus accompanied by a great little lead line make for a statement of intent for 'Seams and Stitches,' it's here to check into your brain and stay for months. 'Bad Pennies' picks up the pace and finds the band out to prove the world wrong while 'Harvard on the Hudson' is a particular highlight. Aided by the intensity of Jesse Vadala's vocals that sound raw yet accessible, the track offers everything to love about With The Punches - breakneck pop punk and impressive musicianship with lyrics designed for shouting out loud. "Everyone I know just fell in love with being miserable" is one of the most quotable lines of the record, too.
Elsewhere, Vadala's vocals help shape the feel of tracks such as 'Postcards,' a bitter, single-worthy break up song with fantastic lyrics and the sharp, critical 'Face Value.' Meanwhile, 'Home in a Lighthouse' features some spectacular guitar work and another killer chorus. Although the themes of the album might be simple, With The Punches still create the same personal lyricism that fans of the modern genre have come to hold in high esteem. These are displayed particularly on 'Don't Panic' where Vadala chimes "there's nothing wrong with saying real life can be depressing." Following this track, 'I Told You Already' introduces a melody line far different than any other on the record and breathes fresh life into the record at its halfway point.
As the closing tracks of 'Seams and Stitches' play out you'll hear a 50 second punk explosion in 'New York Minute,' the jangly romanticism of 'Letting Go,' and the soaring chorus and glorious gang vocals of 'Cags.' The titular track 'Seams and Stitches' features the ponderous lyric "I spent another year debating if my time would ever come." If this album is anything to go by, it can't come soon enough.
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