Hung Up

A Mind's Way Away EP

Written by: TL on 22/12/2013 18:08:38

"A Mind's Way Away", the debut EP from Michigan quartet Hung Up, is a rare "small time" release on my reviewing list of late and judging from its sound it's a first effort from these four dudes to gain membership in the backwards-cap-wearing pop-punk brotherhood of bands like Man Overboard, Forever Came Calling and The Story So Far. Singer/guitarist Alex Hathaway does his best to apply some Fat Mike-style gravel in his verse delivery but the guitar work he pulls off in collaboration with Marco D'Alfonso is clearly of a tone, rhythm and melody that owes more to bands like New Found Glory and indeed Man Overboard.

The good news is that for a first effort, "A Mind's Way Away" has decent production values and is tightly played to the point where you feel like the band is good enough to get the genre of their inspiration just right. Obviously it's a style where catchiness is the name of the game, and tracks two and three deliver decently in this category, with "Like A Dog, He's Loyal To His Bone" providing a shamelessly repeated "on and on and on" refrain while "It's Getting Old" features the EP's best moment when it changes from fast to anthemic tempo for the gang-sung chorus. There are even some responding screams thrown in here to give you just a whiff of old Brand New (it sounds a good deal like "Quiet Things"), though they're unfortunately somewhat meekly pulled off.

Regrettably the hook melodies weaken in strength moving past the central title track, to the point where the last three numbers don't really stick much, and if you're discerning about your lyrical content, the self-righteous song titles like the former two and lyrics along the lines of "You'll be crawling through my frontdoor and I'll feel no remorse. This shit gets old!" could be a tad unsympathetic and inelegant. Words like that strike a jarring contrast with the otherwise sentimental tones, as does the goofy bla bla that preludes "Like A Dog..", and while ham-fisted lyricism has occasionally worked for the likes of Man Overboard, I personally think this is an area Hung Up would do well to consider more carefully on future records.

Meanwhile the album as a whole seems somewhat content to merely establish the band as "one of the throng" as opposed to a group that has something urgent to offer the increasingly crowded genre-landscape. Simply put: It's a decent stab at an established style, but it's too typical to really stand out. I realize that bands have been wary to rely overly on screams since emo supposedly went out of fashion, but if Hung Up had been able to integrate them on more than two songs (the other one being closer "Sinking"), that would've been one thing that could've at least made them stand out a bit more. Overall though, "A Mind's Way Away" is by no means unenjoyable, despite some obvious drawbacks, and if you eat and breathe pop-punk all day long, then this one has a tune or two to put a bounce in your step. At this point though, Hung Up have yet to show enough of a personal style to have a similar impact to their influences.

Download: It's Getting Old; Like A Dog, He's Loyal To His Bone
For The Fans Of: Man Overboard, Forever Came Calling, The Story So Far
Listen: facebook.com/HungupMI

Release Date 03.12.2013
Save Your Generation Records

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