Socially aware pop punk is something the scene sorely lacks. As a group, it is important that the pop punk community is concerned with more than heartbreak, anxiety and sleepy eyes or bony knees. Even if as individuals we are concerned about social and political issues, our music does not always reflect this. Still Rings True’s self-titled EP, however, shows a level of awareness and maturity that is refreshing in a scene that, at times, can be a bit unfocused on the bigger picture.
The seven track EP is fast, aggressive and at times, angry. Throughout the record, every instrument is musically solid and keeps interest; not once was I bored listening to this record. The lyrics are thoughtful and engaging and the vocalist reminds me of Vinnie Caruana very much. In fact, the whole EP is very reminiscent of The Movielife or I Am the Avalanche.
“Empty” and “Broken” both touch on the quarter-life crisis that seems to be plaguing our generation. “The Strength I Need” also follows the lead of the first two songs. The record gets more politically charged after “Fake,” which was the one song on the record I couldn’t totally get into. “Fake” almost sounded like a hardcore song – and while that isn’t a bad thing at all, it felt off-putting in the setting it was presented.
“Let it Burn” and “All the Same” have similar themes and are both challenging the systems in which we live (“The masses slaving for the few, I used to think we’d have our turn / Now I just want to watch it burn”). Usually, after six tracks of pop punk, I tend to get burnt out, especially on the younger bands that pop up every several months. Still Rings True brings something that’s relatively unique to this genre’s table and that’s greatly appreciated.
The record closes with “The Gates,” which is arguably one of the best tracks. It’s slower, but it manages not to be any less aggressive. It has some of my favorite themes from the whole record (“Every living thing finds a way to live, yet we can’t even feed ourselves”) and the guitar tones in this track sound phenomenal.
Overall, Still Rings True has put out seven refreshing, aggressive tracks that actually make listeners think about something bigger than themselves, which is something that I think most pop punk bands should strive to do.
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