Bright and Early -Louder Than Words
Record Label: Unsigned (let's change that)
Release Date: June 15, 2010
Every time Midtown comes up on shuffle, every time I listen to "Empty Like the Ocean" or "Just Rock & Roll", I spend a good three or four minutes just wondering how the same guy who wrote those songs also wrote "Good Girls Go Bad". Then I listen to "Become What You Hate" and I laugh in my head at the irony. I think Bright and Early do these things too. On their debut EP, Louder Than Words, the New Jersey natives sing about everything from the way things used to be to going throughout life just surviving, even if your life sucks. Honest lyrics, pop punk that actually has a noticeable amount of punk in it, and a do-it-yourself ethic are what Bright and Early hang their hat on. Fans of genre who miss the days when Midtown, The Starting Line, and so many other bands that we now consider "classics" ruled the scene will appreciate this output and should respond positively to Bright and Early. The band are a breath of fresh air in a scene that has grown somewhat stale with only a few true standouts.
Musically, it is evident from opener "The Good Things End" that Bright and Early are very influenced by Midtown, but parts of their sound seem to draw similarities to Bayside from The Walking Wounded era. This isn't a band that are focused on writing catchy hooks or huge, arena-sized melodies, but "The Good Things End" along with each of the other four songs on Louder Than Words are very sing along-able. The Midtown influences continue with the line "If living well is the best revenge / Then I'm glad to say I'm doing well". "Something Personal" comes up next, a take-no-prisoners tongue-lashing of bands today that have sold out. If I could, I would quote the lyrics of the entire song, but that's not really the best way to write a review, so I encourage everyone to look them up. The song bashes All Time Low and expands to include certain trends and other bands like Attack Attack! and Green Day that Bright and Early believe have done wrong. There's an entire verse dedicated to Gabe and Midtown, which I think is the best to quote: "Why does everybody hate Cobra Starship? / Isn't it time that Gabe filled his pockets / Touring all around playing sold out shows / Selling neon yellow clothes to kids like dope / And there's nothing we can do but Midtown could stop it / Reunite, tour, at least for the profits / Hey! It's just rock and roll / And it's not okay to forget what you know". Bright and Early put into your stereos what everyone has always thought.
"Slow One" is a bit of a different pace, with a more mellow feel to it. At times the musicianship in this track reminds me of Tigers Jaw, but the vocals and the chorus are completely different. This song is the best track on Louder Than Words, as the honest lyrics are ideal for yelling them back in your car. The guitar work in the bridge show this band's all-around talent, as there is more than one occasion where they show the ability to play real guitar solos, something that has been a bit lost in the new era of pop punk. "Of Wasted Life" and "Nik Nak" both offer up catchy choruses, especially the latter. "Nik Nak" is a great closer to the EP and I can't wait to hear it live.
Bright and Early signify where pop punk has been and where pop punk needs to be again. There are a handful of great bands that are carrying the genre on their backs right now, and I'm prepared to add Bright and Early to that list. However, there are too many groups who got into it for the money and unfairly discredit the genre as a whole. As fans, as a reviewer sitting behind my computer typing this, as a reader sitting behind your laptop reading this, it's easy for us to call a band sell-outs because they go a different direction to get some radio play and make some cash. But the underlying truth is that plenty of us would do the same exact thing, because we all need to eat and pay rent. That only makes me back Bright and Early that much harder. And back I will.
JB's voice is so raw and the lyrics are so honest. The first track is how I have felt about myself most of my life, and he just hit the nail on the fucking head. GREAT EP. Hopefully they come here soon