Hold Tight

I Always Leave But I Never Say Goodbye EP

Written by: TL on 08/01/2015 12:51:08

When Richmond-based quartet Hold Tight self-subscribe to the pop-punk term on their facebook, it's worth noticing for newcomers that theirs is the kind of pop-punk with the least possible polish, with two previous albums to the bands name establishing them as even more raw understudies to your Wonder Years type 'realist pop-punk' groups, where the stories of disillusionment come straight from the heart and out at the top of multiple sets of lungs. Even more so at the opening of their new EP "I Always Leave But I Never Say Goodbye", where the band sounds like they've been taking tips from Captain, We're Sinking, as the tempo is halved while the distortion is maxed in the opening one-two of "Why Change Now" and "I Know".

Both tracks seem built for the impatient types in a sort of minimum build-up, maximum payoff approach, that basically has loud guitar chords crashing into each other constantly while the lyrics are yelled in reckless fashion. Based on brief forays into the previous album "Blizzard Of '96", this is a tiny change of style, while the following "Waterlogged" and "Stumble" are more in line with previous material, sounding more elaborate in their verse riffs and hence more memorable as earphone listens, even if they don't have the constant intensity that you imagine would serve the first two songs in a rowdy, beer-soaked live setting.

"Stumble" in particular can get a hook in your mind via the "I guess we're all just scared of dying on our own" lyrics, which are sung with backing harmonies that bring to mind the band's Buffalo colleagues I Can See Mountains. "Reacting" is the best track of the EP though, with a ringing guitar in its beginning that sounds like something from a Taking Back Sunday song, paving the way for yelping, youthful lyricism alá "Take a look at me, do I look like someone with a plan?" and "I'm always reacting, reacting, reacting, I'm never the chooser". In a basic but efficient way, the song gets in touch with anyone who has felt out of control in their life, which should instantly make it a hit in America's underground pop-punk touring circuit (and elsewhere, if it manages to get around). The EP closes with its title track, which is also its longest at 2:53 - which says something about the band's straight-to-the-point approach. Circling back to the same temperament as the opening, the tempo is halved to revisit the "band falling down the stairs" sound once more, as the yelling goes "Save me from myself, 'cuz I got nobody else".

Each track on the EP however, are equally symptomatic of Hold Tight being sort of a blue-collar, no-nonsense pop-punk group - an intentionally raw product of the scene as it has looked in recent years. There are bands similar to them that give you more clever songstructuring and/or more thoughtful lyricism - and if Hold Tight want to have some staying power they might want to consider how they can make their own mark in those departments - but for the time being these songs are potent ammunition for the group's live set, which, guessing from what the EP sounds like at least, are likely to be second to none of their peers.


Download: Stumble, Reacting
For The Fans Of: I Can See Mountains; Spraynard; Captain, We're Sinking, The Braces
Listen: facebook.com/holdtightva

Release date 23.10.2014
Animal Style / Runner Up / Get Better / Death To False Hope

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