Van Atta High - Love Blitz: United(EP)
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: January 19, 2010
One of the hardest things to do in music is evolve. Bands are constantly trying to grow and mature. During this growth and maturity process, bands change everything from their members to their look to their sound. Subsequently, many of these bands alienate fans during the evolution process.
Van Atta High epitomizes alienation through evolution.
Back in 2006, Van Atta High was just starting out, an unknown hardcore band from North Jersey. Back in 2007, Van Atta High was growing, yet still very much an unknown band. I remember seeing them in 2008 at Bamboozle, as one of the 30 or so people in attendance at the smallest, most out of the way stage possible. I don't know whether this was because they were a relatively new band, or because of the fact that they had a very commercially unpopular sound (screamo... don't forget 2008 was the year when Bamboozle became the Metro Station, Hit the Lights, All Time Low kind of festival).
Well Van Atta High has definitely changed since those days. In 2009 they released Doin' Something Right, a very poppy (and somewhat generic) EP. I was intrigued by the improved production and catchiness of Van Atta High's new release, but disappointed that they had completely abandoned all traces of their past efforts.
I can say with full confidence that I don't feel the same about Love Blitz: United. Once I got past the truly awful name of the EP, I was able to really get into the new material. Yes it is still poppy, and yes some of the lyrics are pretty bad, but it seems like the guys in Van Atta High gone back to their old sound just a little bit. The guitars hit harder, the drums beat faster, and there are screams (though only a few)!
"Jury Duty" (my favorite song on the release) starts the EP off with an unnecessary organ-like intro. However, after a pretty cool drum breakdown, lead guitarist Stephen Jasko comes in with a sick riff. As the song progresses, there seem to be a few pop-punk influences blended with some hardcore guitar breakdowns and drum fills. It's pretty fucking cool. I have to admit that I am kind of sickened by the name and opening lyrics of "Dtf", the second song on the EP. The song starts off with the line "What do you do when you think about me? Do you touch yourself and wonder?" However, after the poor start, the song gets much better, and the result is an above-average pop-punk single. "Little Fingers" follows. The production and vocals are the shining points on this song. The catchy chorus, electronic vibe (at parts), and the semi-hardcore bridge breakdown make for a standout track. Finally Love Blitz: United concludes with "Knight". There are acoustic and electronic elements to this closer, which make it much better than the stereotypical acoustic last song. Vocalist Steve Kellner stands out in this song, with some exceptional progressions and melodies.
Overall, Love Blitz: United is a huge step forward from Van Atta High's last release. They seem to have maintained the catchiness and production quality of Doin' Something Right, while re-adding the hardcore elements that made their early years so much fun. They might have hit a road bump along the way, but I think that Van Atta High has evolved, and found their new sound as a sort of hybrid between their old and new records.
Jury Duty - A-
Dtf - B-
Little Fingers - B+
Knight - B
"I remember seeing them in 2008 at Bamboozle, as one of the 30 or so people in attendance at the smallest, most out of the way stage possible.I remember seeing them in 2008 at Bamboozle, as one of the 30 or so people in attendance at the smallest, most out of the way stage possible."
30 or so people in attendance? Were you at the right stage?