October 12, 2010
I will have to admit, when I was given this record I looked it over inside and out, I kind of gathered that I'd be bopping along to some mediocre, modern pop-punk record soon enough, and I was exhausted at just the thought of that.Little did I know what kind of awesomeness lie in wait.
But by the time the first track had ended,I felt like a total asshole.These New Yorkers are a really amazing band.The first thing that reeled me in was the insanely great songwriting, although it turns out that this IS indeed a modern pop-punk record in hindsight, but there is so much more going on here.Everything is in it's place, yet they don't sound too polished or full of studio tricks.The vocals are clean and warm,and somehow everything that leaps from Micah Winship's mouth comes off as brutally honest and direct.At times,I got a Jawbox vibe from this, mainly in their crisp guitar tone and the way the bright harmonies all connect so well.The drumming is tight and right where it should be, and rides along steadily with the dense bass lines.The two are constantly locking up,creating a solid canvas for some really great melodies.I hear a lot of things in these songs that I love,or have loved at one time.
You might also pull some early 90's indie/punk worship out of Unwelcome Guests, like The Promise Ring, Knapsack, and the kinder Descendants jams, but it's hard to pin exactly what makes these boys tick.
The lyrics are quite sincere and nothing is overtly tongue-and-cheek.The songs on this particular record deal with new found love,and of course lost love,good friends and shitty friends,and the ultimate questions,what happens next?All of these themes can be easily applied to your current situation in life,and I think that's what good pop songs are made for.I particularly fancy the line "It's the same damn scene..everywhere." from the title track.In a tuneful but cynical voice, Winship speaks of burnt out scenes and just trying to hang in there until something good comes along again.I think anyone in their early to mid thirties can relate to this kind of thing.In fact, I have my own stupid hangups with the current music trends and all of the rehashing going on has made me rather weary of certain genres and even labels as a whole, especially in the current local punk community.I can thank Unwelcome Guests for somewhat restoring my faith in good punk songs, and have got me singing along in the car again.It's nice to hear a record that you don't have to spin 10 times before you can actually figure out what's going on.This was quite an unexpected surprise,and I am really looking forward to hearing more from them.Highly recommended.