Second To Last

Vessels EP

Written by: TL on 11/12/2012 22:19:21

Have you guys ever thought about how few records actually sound like Taking Back Sunday's two first records "Tell All Your Friends" and "Where You Want To Be"? I mean, isn't it weird, considering the legend of those two albums, than almost nobody have really managed to succesfully build on anything quite similar? I ask because while California outfit Second To Last may very likely be named after a New Found Glory song, the standout track from their recent EP "Vessel" - The song "Dry Spell" - has me tripping to sing "I can't say I blame you, but I wish that I could! I'm sick of writing every song about you" in its bridge (if your TBS references aren't good, you're going to need wiki for this review).

As the avid listener will probably quickly notice, while TBS are a likely reference here, they are not an overriding one, as opener "Feels The Same" clearly is a good deal too fast for that and the backing vocals never get as prominent as John Nolan/Fred Mascherino were on the early TBS records. That's not so important though, as it is to appreciate this band for coming up with a sound that references a lot of the best emo and pop-punk bands of the early noughties while keeping it entirely their own and entirely like something you'd still be keen to hear in 2012. You've got your simplistic melodies leading the way for buzzing power chords, with dual vocals being spit back and forth with reckless abandon in songs that lend a liberating energy to stories and emotions that most can relate to. It's a lot like the feeling you likely got when you first heard Man Overboard or Misser - Like a style you thought dead is somehow having another breath of life blown into it.

I've already mentioned that "Dry Spell" is a standout, both for its TBS-ish bridge, for its signature riff (that also sounds a lot like something I've heard before) and for the easily recognisable back and forth of its second verse. "Turmoil" is also a strong track for a young band, even if its signature instantly gets me thinking of Silverstein's "Smashed Into Pieces". Okay so maybe you could call it a problem that the songs on "Vessel" instantly has someone from its target audience thinking of other bands - It would obviously be best if I was excited because of the music's novelty rather than for its reminiscence of something else. To me however, the mere fact that a band is bringing back emo-punk guitar work and scratched vocal duels so convincingly is worth much excitement, especially now that Daytrader have called it quits. So here's a grade that reflects the need for a bit more originality, yet also that I am really looking forward to hearing this band's upcoming full length.

Download: Dry Spell, Turmoil
For The Fans Of: Taking Back Sunday, Man Overboard, Misser, Daytrader, old Just Surrender

Release Date 05.06.2012

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