Undesirable People - Undesirable People EP
Record Label: South Division Records
Release Date: August 2011
Generally, this time of year, with fall just around the corner, many pop punk fans start to ease off of the windows-rolled-down, volume-all-the-way up pop punk anthems of bands like The Wonder Years and New Found Glory, and begin to come back to the more slowed-down fall tunes the genre has to offer. Fall brings out albums that are breaths of fresh air after spending all summer belting out the lyrics to "Came Out Swinging," classics like Futures, The Room's Too Cold and Stay What You Are come back into constant rotation for the more relaxed autumn season. Coming from St. Clair Shore, Michigan, Undesirable People seem to be attempting to bridge the gap between these two phases for the average pop punk fan with their debut self-titled EP.
Opening track, "The Fall Down," serves as kind of an omen of the sound the band seems to be going for, as lead vocalist Steven Kennedy delivers the line, "We won't let fall bring us down," pretty much a perfect description of the atmosphere of the band's music. The EP offers the best of both worlds, as the opening track contains driving drums and urgent gang vocals, similar to that of the current pop punk scene, but also features bumping bass and very sweet guitar tones, bringing albums like Bleed American to mind.
Unfortunately, with this "best of both worlds" approach to their music, the band comes across as having a sort of identity crisis. On occasion, it appears that the band is confused whether they want to be Fireworks or Your Favorite Weapon/Deja Entendu era Brand New. This is easy to look past in such easy-to-digest tracks such as the opener, but it is very much a noticeable issue when associated with tracks like the second song, "Resting As Ruins." After starting out with a classic Drive-Thru Records pop punk inspired opening riff, the band returns to quiet verses with a strange vocal melody that gets lost about five seconds into the first verse. The verse is followed by a heavily unsatisfying chorus, which is in turn followed by a very Set Your Goals-ish guitar riff. These changes come across as very forced when the melody or hook is as uninspired as they are in this song, but on the other hand, the band appears to execute this combination extremely well with a solid chorus foundation. Case in point: the next two tracks on the album, "Olegna Vaughn; The Troubadour" and "Women Be Shoppin'".
The former is probably the standout track of the album, opening up with a big sounding, distorted chord progression, which quiets to very pleasing clean guitar textures in the verses. The chorus then proceeds to knock the listen off their feet with an amazing hook, great harmonies, and some killer gang vocals. The rhythm section stays tight throughout the song, and the entire track strikes the balance between high-octane pop punk and pleasing, well calculated pop rock as well as any band this young probably could. "Women Be Shoppin'" follows with a well crafted lead guitar line in the introduction, a nostalgic, feel-good chorus, and a truly great guitar solo. However, closing track, "From the Left," is another song that falls into the trap of an uninspired chorus, as the band tries to force a hook on top of a chord progression that goes in completely the wrong direction.
These mistakes are very easy to overlook, as the standout tracks stand out considerably. When Undesirable People hit, they hit hard, and for a young band, this album hopefully is a very good sign of things to come. With time, they could very well be that band to come from this era that strikes the balance between the pop rock of yesterday and the pop punk of tomorrow as perfect as any band could.
Great E.P. Although, Steve Kennedy did not write or record those tracks with UP. Their old singer Bobby LeSage did, I heard he left abruptly and no one knows why. I seen these guys for the first time back in June at St. Andrews Hall. They were sick! but im interested in hearing what the new singer sounds like! Goodluck guys!
I'm good friends with everyone in this band and they put in a lot of fucking pride in this music, so support them like no other. They are all great guys and they show it live and in their music. This E.P. is very good for a first run at the mill. With such great potential I see them goin' really far with the new changes that seem to be happening in music today.