Normally when we at Colin's Punk Rock World feature a band as 'Band Of The Week' we don't review their recent release. This is so that we don't go overboard on one band as we like to share the CPRW love around. Sometimes you have to make exceptions though. I'm doing this for Abandon The Midwest. The Orlando based pop punk band released a new EP titled Rides Again back in November and it's been on constant rotation at CPRW HQ. I just had to share it with everyone again.
The first track on the EP is one of my favourites of 2017. It's the excellent Cemeteries. From the outset this is that croaky voiced sing along punk rock music that I just adore. In what I think is a bit of a masterstroke Cemeteries begins with the chorus, this hooked me in immediately and I was soon singing along. Of course with music like this, there are gang vocals a plenty and this really adds to my enjoyment of the song. The song is about growing apart from someone as you get older and them only wanting you in their life when they need something. Amy is a short one minute and twenty-four second long song about a ghost named Amy who does some haunting. Abandon The Midwest question whether the stories of Amy are true or are just urban myths. The song features plenty of fantastic harmonies that accompany a catchy chorus. The third song on Rides Again is named Wolfman. I believe this song is about thinking your friend is putting on a front. I think the song in inspired by the saying "never trust a wolf in sheep's clothing." The chorus on the song is a true fist pumping anthem that will get a live crowd shouting loud and proud.
Alone At Last Call is a really sad song title. This song is about realising that you're drinking too much and the self-destruction that it's causing in your life. Abandon The Midwest lead vocalist Matt's throaty vocal seems more stretched than on the previous songs, perhaps indicating that he is singing with more emotion on Alone At Last Call. Something I've noticed about all of Abandon The Midwest's songs so far is that they like to start a song with a big sing along moment that really hooks the listener. The penultimate song on Rides Again is named Bigfoot. Bigfoot starts out at a fantastic tempo giving the song a huge amount of energy straight away. The song is about searching for someone who doesn't exist, using plenty of creatures of urban myth as metaphors such as yetis, the loch ness monster, mermaids and, of course, the aforementioned bigfoot. These metaphors really add an element of fun to the song and show off some great songwriting skills. Rides Again is concluded with the song Stayin' In. I'm always of the belief that the last song on a release needs to be a big hitter to leave the listener just thinking "WOW! What did I just listen to!?" Stayin' In does just that. It doesn't really do much different to the previous five songs on the EP but features a big finale that's loaded full of some exquisite harmonies. A fantastic way to finish a great release.
This throaty voiced sing-a-long pop punk phase of pop punk continues to get bigger and bigger with more and more bands putting out incredible releases in the style. Rides Again has to be a must-listen-to EP for fans of the genre. Abandon The Midwest are one of the best new discoveries I've had over the past year and I can see them continuing to grow and grow.
Stream and download Rides Again here: https://abandonthemidwest.bandcamp.com/
Like Abandon The Midwest here: https://www.facebook.com/abandonthemidwest
This review was written by Colin Clark.