Twenty30

Looking Backwards EP

Written by: PP on 02/08/2010 03:22:17

About two years ago a Philadelphia based band called Twenty30 submitted us an EP which sent a breath of nostalgia my way, reminding me of how much I used to love a band called Boy Hits Car, and partly, Brand New. It had a few killer tracks that stood out from the EP, but also a few questionable ones that dragged the disc down to an average rating, so much wiggle room was certainly there for the band to grow and improve from. "Looking Backwards EP" is their newest effort, and I'm happy to report that they've improved in more or less every department, playing to the strengths of their previous EP while ironing out the wrinkly bits.

The first change you notice is the much improved production, which now sounds much fuller, with thicker guitars and a bass/drum combo that actually has some thump to it. Boy Hits Car influence is still audibly there, but you can tell that the band is starting to forge more of an identity, evident in the almost complete absence of Brand New styled material on the disc. The songwriting has also improved; the first two tracks focus on a quiet/loud dynamic that explodes through the restrained passion of vocalist Lyle, whose croons dwell right in between a scream and angry cleans to make them effective. Now, I don't remember hearing any keyboard on their debut, but a quirky circus/saloon styled passage is audible on the background of "Why Be Something", which should quickly remind you of La Folie or even Foxy Shazam on their respective debut albums. Just the keyboard though, bear in mind.

Next cut, "Absent Minded", is different, integrating an element of punk rock to their alternative rock platform, which lends itself to lots of Incubus-style guitar experimentation with pedals. In fact, from here onwards, you're treated to an old school Incubus vibe that feels like a lost record somewhere between "S.C.I.E.N.C.E" and "Make Yourself". The best track on the EP, "Fire Away", actually sounds just like a track from that era, except a little more angry, just like "Bail Me Out" which as a number of explosive moments that separates Twenty30 from the much loved Incubus sound.

"Absent Minded" - energetic track that integrates an element of punk rock to the alternative rock platform, lots of Incubus-style guitar experimentation with pedals etc, old school Incubus vibe in this track. The parallel is fortified further on "Fire Away" which sounds like a "Make Yourself"/"Morning View"-era Incubus track except a little more angry, especially when the song explodes into halfway screaming. "Bail Me Out" follows suit, but after hearing three tracks of Incubus-resemblance, I have to conclude that the band is far better off when playing the subtly aggressive style made famous by Boy Hits Car, especially after hearing the restrained aggression of "Chaos Continuum" as the final track of the EP.

Well, that became long, but summa summarum: Twenty30 have improved in songwriting to such a degree that I'm willing to consider them for the slightly higher ratings in our scale. The songs have more substance and feel like individual entities that have been thoroughly worked on and tweaked multiple times this time around. That said, the production is still what it is for a self-releasing band, and a proper recording studio and a producer would do each of these songs wonders. Looking forward to the next release already.

Download: Fire Away, Chaos Continuum
For the fans of: Boy Hits Car, Incubus
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.07.2010
Self-Released

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