“Where were you in ’95?” asks melodic, three-piece punk veterans Shades Apart on the track that gives title to their latest album Eternal Echo. You may have been listening to the third album from the group, Save It, which came out that year. Now in their 25th year as a band with their first new album in 19 years, and it’s clear the band hasn’t lost a step. Brimming with hard-hitting power pop and anthemic punk rock, Eternal Echo is what happens with young punks mature with grace.
On album opener “So What Now”, the answer to the title’s question is punk rock fury with enough sugar on the hooks to keep the song pleasing to the ear. The riffs get propulsive on “Only Light”, but you’ll most likely be air drumming along to Ed Brown’s work. The lyrics retain a positive, self-affirming message (“You know love’s the only light”) that often feels rare in modern punk, but the band sells them without a cringe-worthy note.
“Dark Valley Lake” shows off the group’s classic rock influences, with Zeppelin-esque chords and a power ballad chorus. In case you start worrying the band is getting soft, the group churns out a straight-up banger with “Thread”, and follows it with one of the album’s high marks, “95”, where singer Mark V looks back at the group’s career into their future (“rock and roll together, some things never change”).
At times certain songs wade dangerously close into nu-metal territory (see the heavy “Counting Down”), but through unusual melodic turns and sharp choruses, the tracks veer off into more refreshing musical directions. “Aurora”‘s toe-tapping, three-note bass rhythm takes center stage before the soaring power pop chorus, while “Souls and Soldiers” finds a perfect balance between uplifting, two part harmonies and heavy breakdowns.
Falling somewhere between the classic pop punk of Descendents and the arena-ready rock of Foo Fighters, Eternal Echo is an album waiting to find to be played in front of fans yearning for sing-along melodic punk rock. When bands are able to tour again, keep an ear out for Shades Apart coming to your town.
Hear the pre-released track below, and listen to the full album on August 28th!: