Poor Me are a five piece punk rock band from Denver, Colorado. The band formed towards the end of 2010 and have recently put out their third release titled Sugarcane. Sugarcane follows on from their debut Readymade and second release Cosplay. According to the band, Sugarcane is inspired by "a proliferating feeling that the world is getting harder to navigate morally. Falsities are acceptable as warrants for our beliefs, social issues are diluted and polarized until they are palatable for the ill-informed, and confidence in ourselves is replacing the competence of collaboration. As we negotiate circumstances in our lives, we have a plethora of sources to turn to for direction. We can gut-check the moment, or we can turn to science, philosophy, religion, government, our families, etc. – each has its limits, its agendas, but increasingly, a satisfaction with conversion rather than persuasion. Watching the world turn this direction is frustrating, but not surprising... the carrot and stick has always been this effective on the masses."
The EP begins with the song So, Brother. The track starts off in quite a bouncy skate/pop punk way that really draws you in. And then, just like that, Poor Me flick the switch and the vocals jump into an intense raspy hardcore style that reminded me of Thomas Barnett of Strike Anywhere. This really gave a lot of life to the song and left me really wanting more. The second track on the EP, Mistakes Can Be Made, has a bit of a theatrical rock element alongside Brett Delaney's superb vocals. It really feels as if Poor Me take us on somewhat of a ride full of fantastic melodies and hard hitting intensity. The track is about realising that you don't have to be perfect all of the time and coming to the conclusion that you better yourself by learning from your mistakes.
Up next is the EP's title track, Sugarcane. Sugarcane certainly has a bit of an 80s metal edge to it. Not the cheesy hair metal stuff but the good stuff. The first third of the song is spent building towards the chorus and the shift in tempo is really striking in the most wonderful of ways. The poppier sound of the chorus really made me fall in love with the track, it's jam packed with energy. The penultimate track on Sugarcane is named Papa Tells Me. I really enjoyed the atmospheric beginning to the song with a jangly guitar riff, simple drum pattern and a soft ooooh-ing harmony all accompanying Delaney's vocal. This jumps into a harder style at will that quickly had me headbanging along to the song. I think that this song, perhaps more than the others on Sugarcane, really shows off what a great bunch of musicians Poor Me are. The final track on the EP is Perpetrators and is more of a straight forward punk rock song. Sure there are plenty of shifts in tempo but the theatrics are toned down. Poor Me manage to squeeze some of their most melodic and most intense moments into this four minute masterpiece that captivated me from beginning to end.
I didn't know much about Poor Me before getting sent Sugarcane. I really enjoyed the originality of this EP. It's taken the melodic hardcore punk rock sound and given it a whole new twist. This is a great EP from a great upcoming band.
Stream and download Sugarcane here: https://poorme.bandcamp.com/album/sugarcane
Like Poor Me here: https://www.facebook.com/PoorMeMusic
This review was written by Colin Clark.