Album Review
Washington Square Park - Washington Square... Album Cover

Washington Square Park - Washington Square...

Reviewed by
Washington Square Park - Washington Square Park
Record Label: Unsigned (boo!)
Release Date: June 22, 2010
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
New Jersey is a bit of a musical hallowed ground for me. Aside from being the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen and the inspiration for so many of his songs, the armpit of America continues to spawn countless quality pop punk and rock and roll bands today. Washington Square Park, who were recently out on the NJ Pop Punk Revival Tour with Bright and Early and I Call Fives, have already been identified as one of the bands coming out of New Jersey today to keep an eye on. However, as their self-titled debut full-length shows, labeling Washington Square Park as a normal pop punk band is a bit of a mistake. Straying far from the catchy hooks and soaring vocals of your prototypical pop punk, Washington Square Park showcase a much deeper sound with many different layers. At times, the band take on darker tones with edgy lyrics, while at other moments they do bring out the hooks and deliver sing-along choruses.

Barely two seconds into the album, vocalist Max Rauch belts out "This is a new beginning / I swear", and just like that, listeners are introduced to Washington Square Park. Brutally honest lyrics are consistent on this record, paced by Rauch and Keith Williams' balls-out guitar work. They make it obvious that they aren't afraid to experiment, and above anything else, the guitar work on Washington Square Park shows why these guys aren't just another pop punk band. According to Rauch, their shows have been called "punk rock therapy", which is as apt a description as I can use to describe the lyrics on this record. The cries of "This pain is my only liberty" on "Asleep" are just one of the many moments where Rauch lets listeners into his own personal life.

"Ladders" is a blistering track with a catchy chorus and some more scathing lyrics, and the contrast between this song and the uplifting "Full and Through" shows how versatile Washington Square Park are. The latter is the friendliest song on the record, and serves as the perfect transition into "No Medication", which has already helped Washing Square Park garner a good amount of attention. At two and a half minutes, it's short and sweet, and easily the most accessible track that the band have written so far.

Most of the songs on the album follow one of two routes: some are darker and more intimate for the listener ("Center of My World", "Always Grey", "Loan Slavery"), while others are more upbeat and easier to sing along to ("You Are the Sun", "Believing"). Either way, there are no missteps on Washington Square Park and the album fails to get repetitive, even after countless listens in my car, on my laptop, or on my iPod before bed. In fact, one of the most positive things about this debut is that aside from being solid overall, you can listen to it no matter what mood you may be in. While some frontmen get too personal for an album to be welcome, Rauch keeps things real while the band remind you why you're listening in the first place: to hear quality music. The standout on the record might be "You Are the Sun", with a light-hearted guitar line, excellent gang vocals, and a shining chorus. The track shows a little bit of every part of Washington Square Park. The untitled closer is a simple acoustic number, a great ending to an emotional record.

On only their first full length, Washington Square Park have shown that they're the new band to watch in the New Jersey scene today. Taking pop punk roots but showing the balls to write exactly what they want to write, this is a group that have the potential to have a long career and make an impact with quality music and honest words. As Rouch has pointed out in interviews and as Washington Square Park have written on their Myspace, they're not in this game to make money or to become famous. They're doing what they love, and if they keep doing just that then Washington Square Park will be remembered as the beginning of something fantastic.

Recommended If You LikeNew Jersey, the exact crossroads of pop punk and rock and roll, awesome new bands
Download These Firstif you don't BUY this record, you're a bad guy.
Bare Essentials1. Asleep
2. Ladders
3. Full and Through
4. No Medication
5. Center of My World
6. You Are the Sun
7. Always Grey
8. Loan Slavery
9. Believing
10. Untitled
Run Time: half an hour or so
these guys won't care if they don't make any money, but it does matter. every CD purchase helps them out and lets them keep making good music.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 39
11:20 PM on 06/22/10
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aradiantsunrise's Avatar
Still need to check this out. I really dig the artwork.
11:44 PM on 06/22/10
Nick Le
Yeezy taught me.
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Nick Le's Avatar
Really digging this album. I went into it expecting them to be a typical pop punk band, which I wouldn't mind. But that's not what they are. Bought a physical copy today, hopefully I'll be getting it soon. Good review, once again, Thomas. There are so many great bands coming out of the northeast right now.
11:59 PM on 06/22/10
Thomas Nassiff
retired staff member
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Thomas Nassiff's Avatar
Really digging this album. I went into it expecting them to be a typical pop punk band, which I wouldn't mind. But that's not what they are. Bought a physical copy today, hopefully I'll be getting it soon. Good review, once again, Thomas. There are so many great bands coming out of the northeast right now.
I wasn't expecting them to sound how they did either. When people say pop punk out of New Jersey, you expect a certain thing, but these guys aren't really like that. I love their sound though.
12:27 AM on 06/23/10
Why do you stay till you see blood?
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NateFoundGlory's Avatar
I'm insanely intrigued...
02:07 AM on 06/23/10
Regular Member
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InMyLife's Avatar
love this record so much.
04:12 AM on 06/23/10
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birtcho's Avatar
Listened to Believing on there MySpace. What a fucking song! I will be getting this album
05:10 AM on 06/23/10
Recently I've been burning bridges
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BigG1392's Avatar
Guess I'll have to give this one a listen now
05:15 AM on 06/23/10
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
such a great band...great review.
06:14 AM on 06/23/10
Andy Adores Alliteration
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prefix-core's Avatar
I'll definitely be picking up a copy of this album in some way, shape, or form. Really digging what I've heard thus far!

Their vocalist reminds me of Vinnie from the Movielife/IATA in the best way possible.
07:22 AM on 06/23/10
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zachff's Avatar
Well I like awesome new bands, so maybe I'll check this out this afternoon
07:29 AM on 06/23/10
I'm not sad anymore
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JTMcKrackles's Avatar
Great review, and a great band. I just bought this.
07:49 AM on 06/23/10
jess' man
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jess' man's Avatar
are they on itunes Canada? if so can someone please post the link
08:18 AM on 06/23/10
Grace and Peace
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inthemidst's Avatar
Love the review; this should be worth listening.
08:26 AM on 06/23/10
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TerrancePryor's Avatar
Great review. Been bumping this for a couple of months now. Glad to see it finally out there.

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