Posts Tagged ‘Pop-punk’

Sunday marked the tenth anniversary of Fall Out Boy’s classic album From Under the Cork Tree.

We won’t be getting a retrospective tour from the band however, who recently vowed in Rolling Stone to never play their classic albums straight through.

The band has plenty on their plate at the moment in any case, with their 2015 comeback effort American Beauty/American Psycho scaling the charts with an eclectic modern pop sound.

Retro Fall Out Boy.

But what is it that makes From Under the Cork Tree such a touchstone for the band, or at least, for their fans?

It was certainly their breakthrough release, marking their first top ten album and single position in the US charts.

The album captured a band fired up to make the mainstream take notice, but also not ashamed of their pop punk and hardcore roots, which gave the songs a harder-hitting edge.

Lead single Sugar, We’re Goin Down hit #8 on the US and UK charts and also features a mean guitar-slinging breakdown in the bridge. How many other bands could have pulled that off?

Fall Out Boy’s label told the band to scrap the song, citing its wordy lyrics and heavy guitars as being a barrier to radio success.

Thank God the band stuck to their guns. If you’ve ever heard the fans sing back the lyrics to the band live you know who had the right of it.

Later efforts certainly displayed an expanded sound, but with the exception of 2008’s Folie à Deux, the band rarely managed to hit the mark so consistently throughout a full-length.

From Under the Cork Tree managed to stand out from the pop punk pack with a varied palette, but it avoided becoming self-indulgent.

Neal Avron handled production duties with aplomb. The album sounds punchy and in-your-face, capturing the live feel of the band’s performances.

While the band rarely get showy with their musicianship, it’s no secret that Fall Out Boy are all excellent musicians, and great individual input drives the carefully crafted songs on the album.

From Under the Cork Tree was the second album for which bassist Pete Wentz wrote all the lyrics, and it marks the point where the band grew fully into their song-writing abilities.

The lyrics are raw and cut deep, documenting a dark time in Wentz’s life, as evidenced by suicide attempt made shortly after the album was recorded.

We’re unlikely to hear anything like it again from the band, but it’s true that the greatest artists have a tendency never to repeat themselves and their legacy is often for the better because of it.


US pop rock act Against the Current recently dropped videos for two tracks off their Gravity EP, namely Dreaming Alone and Paralyzed.

The Poughkeepsie, NY trio announced their signing to Fueled by Ramen on March 5.

This led to immediate comparisons to their new labelmates Paramore.

ATC’s heavier moments do bear a passing resemblance to Paramore’s second and third albums, although the younger band is less rooted in post-hardcore and pop punk and sits more closely in pop and indie territory.

Gravity is a six-track EP that builds on the sound established on ATC’s 2014 debut EP Infinity.

The release begins with the title track, a tour de force of pop rock song writing with frontwoman Chrissy Costanza’s high register vocals as the centrepiece.

The opener is followed by a slight lull in the tracklisting with Talk and Dreaming Alone. Talk is catchy but doesn’t stand up well to repeat listens and Dreaming Alone is a ballad that fails to take off.

Paralyzed and Fireproof heat up proceedings at the halfway point of the release, showcasing again the fireworks the band is capable of on their more upbeat numbers.

Both songs feature on-point lyrics from Chrissy, whose powerful voice and personality shine throughout the EP.

Brighter, a piano-led number, closes the EP with a change of pace and shows the band can hit hard with their slower numbers as well as their rockers.

Gravity shows an exciting young band in fine form with some big song-writing chops.

The band are scheduled to make their Fueled By Ramen debut with a full-length in early 2016, and I for one can’t wait to hear how they tackle a longer release.

My friend and I make the long trip to Wheelers Hill and step out of the car to find breathtaking views over the nearby valley; We’ve arrived at Shotgun: “Melbourne’s newest alternative nightclub”. We’re here early, I want to catch the newly reformed The Lesson open the night, supporting Sydney post-hardcore act The Mission in Motion and Melbourne pop-punk/ rock favorites Stealing O’Neal. Our tattooed lady DJ for the evening tells me that Shotgun has only being running only a month or two, and obligingly plays my request: Seven Years by Saosin comes over the speakers while The Lesson set up, and the pierced and skinny jean clad punters saunter in. While Shotgun hasn’t quite reached the well known crush of the city alternative clubs, there’s quite a turn out by the end of the evening.

James Lynch from The Lesson shreds his vocal cords for your listening pleasure.

Nick Budicin cracks a smile during The Lesson's set.

Melbourne up-and-comers The Lesson kick off their post-hardcore assault with E to da G, their newly released track, which opens with a syncopated riff that rings of Underoath influence. The band’s twin-vocal assault packs a punch, with Scott English’s soaring cleans entwining with James Lynch’s blood letting scream. The band are comprised of some new faces, having reformed recently after shortening their name from The Lesson Of Her Death. Things have undoubtedly improved, and the band are tight, and starting to ground themselves in a unique and highly melodic sound. While their recordings are high quality, their live sound radiates an energy and urgency not heard from the studio takes. They are currently wrapping up demos of new material, which I’ve been lucky enough to hear, and their new direction is even further into the Circa Survive school of ambient, experimental post-hardcore. Keep an eye on them.

Tom Niessner from The Lesson makes sure his last show is a screamer.

I Am Villain: Break that shit down.

Next up is Brisbane pop-punk/ hardcore kids I Am Villain. They are loud, fast and in your face, but feedback and sound issues get in the way of a truly enjoyable set. The tight twin guitar attack keeps things grounded, but there is not much here that hasn’t already been covered by legions of New Found Glory wannabes. Props to the guitarist for the Def Lep singlet though.

Brett Islaub of The Mission In Motion throws down the gauntlet.

The Mission In Motion book of rock moves: 'The foot on the foldback.'

The Mission In Motion (TMIM) step onstage next, and by this time the crowd has swelled. The band’s sizable frontman Brett Islaub isn’t fazed by the massive crowd, stepping out into the audience and performing almost the entire set jumping about in front of the stage, daring the audience not to have as much fun as he is. The sun-drenched Sydneysiders put on one hell of a show, running around the stage, having a ball and rocking out, all while absolutely nailing their parts. The band has done hundreds of shows, and believe me you can tell, they look quite at home on stage. Their sound is catchy, melodic, and the lyrics are full of positivity and energy. There are plenty of big sing-along choruses, and just when you think you’re hearing a pop song, the band throws in a massive chunky riff to rattle your bones. Catch them if they make their way to your town, a show with TMIM is money back guarantee for a good time.

The Mission In Motion guitarist Kent Griffiths lets all out.

Chris Scott from Stealing O'Neal channels some Anthony Green.

Last up is Melbourne alternative/pop-punk lifers Stealing O’Neal. Anyone who has been the live scene around here long enough would have heard them at some point, and they deserve the name they’ve made for themselves. Like TMIM, they are completely at ease on stage, and bring their good vibes to the whole venue, although their performance lacks some of the visceral energy that TMIM brought to the audience. A highlight of the show is the epic and uplifting Catchafire, off their debut LP Don’t Sleep, which has the audience singing along right from the first verse, and through to the big chorus which has frontman Chris Scott challenging the audience singing: “Who just stands there, clicking their heels in the moment.” Scott holds the audience in his sway the whole set, with his characteristic high register vocals and effeminate yet commanding stage presence. The hometown crowd lapped up the set and by this time things were getting pretty messy with the amount of beverages consumed by the punters. But there was no negativity, just good times – fitting considering the name of the Stealing O’Neal/TMIM tour – Good Times and Killer Rhymes Part II.

Chris Scott ups the ante

Jack Tosi from Stealing O'Neal brings the vintage back.

Stealing O’Neal at Myspace.
The Mission In Motion at Myspace.
I Am Villain at Myspace.
The Lesson at Myspace.