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Album Review
By Surprise - Criteria EP Album Cover

By Surprise - Criteria EP

Reviewed by
8.0
By Surprise - Criteria EP
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Record Label: Topshelf Records
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
By Surprise are an emo four piece from South Jersey that have been bouncing around since 2006. Their EP, Criteria is three tracks of emo indie rock that channels more than a little bit of The Promise Ring. If you haven’t heard of these guys before, they’ll certainly take you... by surprise (...you know you want to laugh) with their upbeat likability and instant attractiveness. Although only three tracks in length, By Surprise manage to carve a niche for themselves, in such a short period of time, with an old school take on the genre. Opening track “Criteria” instantly lodges the EP in your brain with its mid paced tempo but incredibly catchy hook. The vocals, whilst not always technically spot on, are quite distinct and are extremely reminiscent of Davey von Bohlen’s. This release tends to veer away from overly complicated instrumentation with the guitarwork being a fairly standard fare. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. By Surprise don’t slip into the noodly guitar/ twinkle daddy scene that emo tends to fall into at the moment, they play the emo music of the 90s that we all grew to love in the first place. The entire EP has a nostalgic feel to it and with so few other bands playing music like this anymore, By Surprise certainly have the chance to work their way into the hearts of the kids still yearning for another Something To Write Home About. The two tracks that follow ‘Criteria’ slide into the same category, and whilst neither of them are quite as striking as the EP’s very memorable opener, they do continue the charm and accessibility of the track. Closer "Way To Be Tall"'s distinct riff ensures that By Surprise certainly won't be leaving the listener's brain anytime soon.

Overall, the Criteria EP is a snapshot of a band who have a lot of personality and wear their influences on their album sleeve. If you’re looking for a handful of catchy songs and want some easy to relate to old school emo, By Surprise are the band for you.

Recommended If You LikeThe Promise Ring; The Get Up Kids; early Jimmy Eat World; explaining what emo 'really' means


Additional InformationTrack Listing
1. Criteria
2. Wear That Crown
3. Way To Be Tall

Band Members
Devin P. Carr
Patrick R. Gartland
Daniel J. Saraceni
Robert J. Wilcox

8/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 7 of 7
04:42 AM on 01/01/13
#2
cut!print
Keep me simple, unplug my head.
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I've been finding a lot of awesome new bands from your reviews. Thanks so much!
11:37 AM on 01/01/13
#3
Kelly Doherty
@_kellydoherty for the lolz
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I've been finding a lot of awesome new bands from your reviews. Thanks so much!
That's the best possible compliment you could pay me. Thanks! ^^
11:42 AM on 01/01/13
#4
Airin Gough
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I decided to check out Mountain Smashers yesterday. I don't know how I missed it, but that album is really good. I hear some strong influences by The Promise Ring. I will make sure to check this out too.

I also have to agree with cut!print. I just went through all of your reviews last week and checked out each band I hadn't heard of before. Thank you for introducing me to awesome new music
02:00 PM on 01/01/13
#5
Kelly Doherty
@_kellydoherty for the lolz
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I decided to check out Mountain Smashers yesterday. I don't know how I missed it, but that album is really good. I hear some strong influences by The Promise Ring. I will make sure to check this out too.

I also have to agree with cut!print. I just went through all of your reviews last week and checked out each band I hadn't heard of before. Thank you for introducing me to awesome new music
Thanks so much! :D Make sure you check out my EOTY list!
08:47 PM on 01/03/13
#6
cut!print
Keep me simple, unplug my head.
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That's the best possible compliment you could pay me. Thanks! ^^

You're welcome :) I freaking love Modern Baseball!
01:18 AM on 05/02/13
#7
gameboyman5
Rockin!!
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everything about this EP is perfect really out does any of their previous works

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