You Vandal

Pretend I Don't Exist

Written by: PP on 23/03/2022 01:19:21

"Pretend I Don't Exist" is the fourth album by Gainesville, Florida pop punkers You Vandal. They specialize in bright, sparkly guitars that are contrasted by plenty of distortion and crunch, a dynamic that is replicated in the vocal department. Here, sugarcoated pop harmonies battle against scratchy backing vocals, resulting in a classic easycore vibe, yet one that feels softer somehow in comparison.

A song like "Running In Place" utilizes playful vocal hooks and call/response style between cleans and gravelly ones to achieve a bouncy, summery vibe that you've probably heard before on a record by A Day To Remember or possibly Living With Lions on circa "Holy Shit".

Emo undertones are constant given the slightly melancholic (or whiny? You decide) style of the lead vocals, especially on the more balladic songs like "Sink Back To Me". This is further reinforced on "Ain't So Bad" and "Got It Wrong", both tracks that echo early Fall Out Boy and other early 2000s pop punk bands like Hit The Lights. Save for the gravelly vocals, most material on "Pretend I Don't Exist" would happily fit on releases somewhere between 2004 and 2008.

That being said, You Vandal does a relatively good job here to avoid sounding dated. The harsher style of the secondary vocals never reaches into full-on screams like is the case on most easycore releases, so it helps distinguish their style from countless peers like Veara and Youth Fountain. If anything, it feels like Taking Back Sunday took in a gravelly vocalist and jammed with some of the other pop punk peers of their time to create an album's worth of summer anthems.

In the end, "Pretend I Don't Exist" is a reminder that pop punk is still alive and well, and able to replicate its earlier vibes without sounding stale years later in 2022. While not an album of the year candidate, there are plenty of energetic, upbeat anthems here to have you singing along for most of the record.

Download: Running In Place, Sink Back To Me, Trapped In My Head
For the fans of: A Day To Remember, Living With Lions, Veara, Youth Fountain, Taking Back Sunday
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.02.2022
Jump Start Records

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