From the rotary phone album cover (child’s hand rebelliously cutting the cord) to a mid-song lament of remembering “when we were young” and “jaded”. This cut, sharp pop-punk for teen house parties is a rebirth of New Found Glory’s Nothing Gold Can Stay (“Beyond Repair”). It hits enough tempo and channels some authentic, if shrink-wrapped, emotion to challenge the ear and charge the spirit. It’s a respite; a reprieve from life’s urgency and procrastinated taxes and a never ending stream of politics on your newsfeed.
The longing is there, tapping into the soft pudgy hips of anxieties no longer exercised. On “Sober”, lead singer and every-man in look and name, Randy Frobel, yearns “I want to forget or get over it / It’s hard to do / It’s hard to do” which is sung with campfire back-up vocals and a crisp clap. It’s cute puffery, satisfying early and often with big breakdowns and tight melodies..
Darker music lies ahead, but this is a pleasant summer fling in February. The gloss of the first few playthroughs may wear off and the clever turns of phrase will dull until they blend back into all the pop-punk before lost to the four chord ether. But, when the air is warm, and you’ve got a moment to drive, “Never Looked Better” or “Ashley” might cycle through the mix, and you’ll smile as you’re brought back to your early teens when there was a little more time.