In April 2013, the members of Call it Fiction retired that old moniker and adopted a new one: Dead Leaves. Under this name, the five-piece pop-punk outfit entered the studio to record its EP with Nick Diener (The Swellers). Diener’s work as a producer has resulted in some pretty solid music coming out in 2013, and Dead Leaves is definitely not the exception.
Amend Regret is eight tracks of straight pop punk with an acoustic break toward the end. The EP opens with “Colorless Adolescence,” a short build up to “Sever the Ties.” The struggle that comes along with entering your early 20s is something most of us can relate to, especially those of us who have grown up cutting our teeth on records like The Upsides. We still love pop punk, and that angst that we felt when listening to The Wonder Years for the first time is still there, but it’s different now. Amend Regret recognizes that and delivers a set of songs that are both fresh at times and nostalgic at times.
Lyrically, the EP doesn’t have a “hook,” as there is no repeated phrase throughout the record, for which I am grateful. Lines about anxiety and bony knees get gimmicky and boring after a while. The line “I used to have a great sense of belonging / I swear to God that all my friends have changed,” in “Colorless Adolescence” is probably the most relatable line of the record. “Seven Year Plan”’s mirror metaphor (“I break more mirrors than you could in seven years”) on the other hand, feels a bit on the cheesy side; relatable, but also cheesy.
“Pathos” is the apparently obligatory acoustic song on the EP and also my least favorite; the song itself is good, but it feels really out of place and forced when listening to the record. The closing track, “Moving Out, Moving On,” finishes Amend Regret on a strong, high note. It was my favorite track both musically and lyrically (“I constantly resisted change, forcing myself to stay the same”).
Out of the eight songs Dead Leaves has given us, there are several I would find myself returning to (“Moving Out, Moving On,” “Empathy Disconnect,” and “We Were Infinite”), and the record as a whole is a solid piece of music that makes me excited to see what Dead Leaves will be up to next.