With The Punches

Seams & Stitches

Written by: PP on 15/08/2012 05:28:03

Expectations were sky-high for "Seams & Stitches", probably the most anticipated pop punk album of 2012. It's the debut full length by the Newburgh, New York based With The Punches, who released two incredible EPs in the past four years that built the band a loyal and fanatic national following with exclusively word-of-mouth promotion. That they also go by the increasingly popular tags of easycore, happy hardcore, and pop hardcore only made it certain that a hell of a lot of buzz was going to surround the release of this album on sites like ours, not least because this band is widely considered to be among the cream of the crop within the genre, if not outright the cherry on top.

So does "Seams & Stitches" deliver on expectations? Well, yes and no. On the positive side, it is exactly the album we expected With The Punches to write, a high-octane pop punk album with the occasional pop-hardcore riff, full of breakneck speed technical leads, bouncy rhythms, and explosive vocals. Not to mention the fact that it's insanely catchy, with the opening chorus of "Riverside" selling most fans to the album immediately, and the plague-like infectiousness of "Harvard On The Hudson" closing the deal for sure, and fourth track "Postcards" convincing even the strongest skeptics that this band is the real deal. Basically, "Seams & Stitches" sounds almost identical to their two EPs, delivering an album's worth of quality pop punk with killer vocal hooks, ripping lead guitars, and overtly nasal and raw vocal work in their usual unpolished manner.

But here's the part that leaves me scratching my head. What worked like a charm on five or six track EP can be a little too much through twelve songs. The band does not vary their sound at all, flooring the pedal throughout the record and firing away pop hardcore melody after the other with no restraint. It works to a reasonable extent, but I feel like the band could really drive the record home from being a solid one into being a great one by throwing in a curveball or two where they show capability of more than just easycore by-the-books. That doesn't have to mean a ballad, but something else that would space out the incredible tracks of this record with some breathing room until the next moshable hit arrives and charms the listener away. Maybe I've heard one too many a pop hardcore record in the last four years, but "Seams & Stitches" doesn't sound like the brilliant, genre-defining release that it should've been. That said, it's still some of the best stuff you'll hear in this genre this year, so be sure not to miss it.

Download: Riverside, Harvard On The Hudson, Postcards, Letting Go
For the fans of: The Wonder Years, Mixtapes, Such Gold, Me Vs Hero
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.07.2012
Doghouse Records

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