New Hampshire’s Our Last Night, the now four-piece post-hardcore group formerly signed on Epitaph Records, has made quite the wave on the viral market through its EP of covers that was recently released. Well, through that and a very successful Indiegogo campaign, these gentlemen are back again this year with an EP of original works titled Oak Island. After mixed reviews on their last album, Age of Ignorance, they left Epitaph and did this EP on their own, so it’ll definitely be interesting to see just what this band can do.
The first track, “Dark Storms,” gave me an almost pop-rock vibe, having elements of singing that reminded me of common radio rock – and not in a particularly good way. Another interesting note is the lack of screams, which will definitely turn some people away that were fans before, but might give them a new rock audience instead. Lyrically, the band has taken a step back, using more catchy and less intelligent lyrical content in order to make the songs have more of a hook. Though there were finally some screams on the second track, “I’ve Never Felt This Way,” the lyrical content remained dumbed down and, overall, just disappointed me with its lack of real depth.
The third track, first single “Same Old War,” maintained that same poppy feel and felt forced, though the chorus has a fantastic vocal display. The issues I’m finding remain with this band attempting a mature push, yet only taking a step back in musical content. The fourth track, “Reality Without You,” follows this trend almost to a T. The second issue Oak Island encounters is a remarkable lack of a variety. One could argue that an EP is supposed to have a lot of similarity to it, but even by those limitations, Our Last Night has made the songs boring enough for the listener to lose interest rather quickly.
“Sunrise,” the fifth track, is a shining moment for the release, though; its ballad structure and solid delivery makes the trek through this EP more worthwhile. It’s not exactly well-written lyrically, but it definitely has better structure and lyrics compared to the rest of Oak Island – by a longshot. In addition, the vocals finally do something to add variety, taking away from how remarkably generic and uninteresting the instrumentation seems to be through the release so far. The last two tracks, “Scared of Change” and “Oak Island,” dwell closer towards the feel people remember on Age of Ignorance, but still felt a bit dumbed down, so to speak.
Our Last Night has done some rather remarkable things here in retrospect. In an effort to make the album more poppy and catchy, it has fallen into a more boring atmosphere and makes the listener lose interest somewhat. In my honest opinion, I think the band's efforts in covering several pop songs has turned the members sterile in their own writing, and this EP is a rather blunt reflection of that. Oak Island had potential, but it fell flat rather quickly and just couldn’t come back, despite the valiant effort by “Sunrise” to save it.