I first became aware of Hemel Hempstead pop punks Saving Sebastian when they played Fandangle's ten year anniversary of Fly Away at the New Cross Inn in November last year. This was a lot of the crowd’s first time seeing them and they certainly impressed many people in the room. One of them being Fandangle bassist Andy B, who they soon went on to record their latest EP Minefield with. It seems like it's been ages waiting for Minefield to come out but the time is almost upon us. Featuring four brand new tracks of fun pop punk, this could easily be many people’s summer jam.
Minefield begins with the song Hometown which we were lucky enough to feature on our fifth anniversary compilation back in June. Starting in quite a cliché way with an alarm clock before the song launches into life, it's not long until the energy that accompanies Saving Sebastian when they play live jumps out of the speakers and quickly sweeps you away. It's fast paced and is stupidly catchy. Hometown is about wanting to leave your hometown due to how mundane your life has become. It's a pretty standard topic for a pop punk band to write about but Saving Sebastian's infectious enthusiasm prevents it from sounding standard. Up next is the EP's titled track, Minefield. Slowing things down slightly, Minefield is more of a punchy song than the frantic Hometown. From the opening guitar riffs, Saving Sebastian will have you pogoing up and down. The song is about a relationship that is going wrong due to the two people both being self-obsessed but neither being able to end things. It's a more serious and mature side of Saving Sebastian that I'm really on board with.
Saving Grace is the lead single from Minefield. My first thought when I heard Saving Grace was how influenced Saving Sebastian are by old school Blink-182. It's got a very 90s pop punk feeling to it that automatically made me feel at home with the song. I grew up on this sound and it's nice to be hearing it again with one of the most promising new bands in the scene. Something that really stood out on the track was the use of co-lead vocalists Sonny and Jamie showcasing their different voices and coming together at the end of the song for a brilliant harmony at the end. This was a fantastic choice for lead single. Last up is the oddly titled The. Those wonderful dual vocals are again on display as Sonny and Jamie take turns in singing the verse and chorus before we are treated to some great layering of their combined vocals. The is perhaps more of a modern sounding pop punk style, definitely something for fans of the nu-school pop punk that the Slammy D kids love so much. Staring slowly really invites you to join in with the singing and it builds nicely to a fast paced chorus that really gets you pumped up. The track has plenty of shifts in tempo that keep you hooked throughout and it is a fine way to finish Minefield.
Pop punk in the UK is perhaps currently as popular as it has ever been. Saving Sebastian are one of the best bands in the current class of pop punk acts that I've heard in a long time. Great songs, ace musicianship, delightful vocals and just the most amount of fun.
Pre-order/stream and download Minefield here: https://savingsebastianuk.bandcamp.com/
Like Saving Sebastian here: https://www.facebook.com/savingsebastian/
This review was written by Colin Clark.