Cycles EP

Written by: TL on 10/02/2014 10:44:10

Traditions are a new pop-punk quartet from Westfield, Massachussetts who are gearing up to release the EP "Cycles" in a month and a day from now, and having had the chance to give it some advance listens, here's a look at just which of the genre's "traditions" the band plans to carry onwards with this their first record as a band. Brightly blazing riffs and chords and bouncy beats are naturally the order of the day, but the band quickly stands out a bit via the vocals of singer/guitarist Randy Burlingame, which for the most part echo fairly cleanly against a generous serving of reverb on his recording. It makes for a neat and polished contrast to the indulgent bro-ness of the instrumental backdrop, feeling a bit like the band has married a Matty Arsenault (A Loss For Words) -type voice to a Wonder Years-type musical vibe, with the comparison to AL4W being particularly evident on the last song "Eyes Of A Man", where the vocals/guitars combination sounds especially like something that could have been on "No Sanctuary".

Exactly the mentioned reverb on the vocals however, does get a bit out of control for my taste, making for a beginner's chink in the EP production's suit of armor, and Traditions display common issues with making ideas borrowed from various genre influences fit together consistently across the EP. The harsher backing vocals that come in occasionally for instance, are a welcome contrast, yet their delivery feels just a bit awkward, but I am guessing it can become a strong suit for the band in the future if they can get the interplay to fit more comfortably. One pointer towards this is "Progression / Regression", which at track two seems likely to start some pit movement in the local basement circuit, courtesy of its catchy refrain and the hand claps and gang choruses that come in towards the end.

Personally, my highlight on here is "Polarity", which gets going with a trade-off session between the two guitars, only to eventually wind its way up to a climax that has Burlingame really stretching his voice to include some very Jimmy Stadt-ish (Polar Bear Club) rawness in his style. I'm not sure how his throat feels afterwards, and if the title is partially an admission of where the song found its inspiration then I think that's a slightly lame bit of humour, but the sudden surge of extra power at the end here is the best "Cycles" has to offer in terms of making you sit up straight and listen closely. Making me feel like listening to "Clash Battle Guilt Pride" is not a poor accomplishment by a band on their starting effort, but of course, it would be better if I was actually reaching for the "repeat" button here. So conclusively Traditions have come up respectably in terms of a multi-facetted debut that sniffs at various directions within the band's genre, with their immediate areas of improvement being in more consistent hook writing and in maybe defining their own personal expression a bit more strongly.


Download: Polarity, Progression / Regression
For The Fans Of: A Loss For Words, Polar Bear Club, The Wonder Years

Release Date 11.03.2014
Take This To Heart Records

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