City Lights - Acoustic EP
Record Label: InVogue Records
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Pop punk is quite a broad genre, isn’t it? Before listening to City Lights’ Acoustic EP for the first time, I was listening to Screeching Weasel’s Emo and then had some very lofty thoughts about what an all-encompassing genre pop-punk is and how it means many different things to many different people. So, it was with this attitude that I dived into City Lights’ new EP, and with this attitude I stayed. City Lights are the embodiment of everything that is sweet and sugary about pop punk, and they are certainly for fans who prefer to pronounce the genre with the emphasis on the pop part.
City Lights’ Acoustic EP is the type of release which polarizes the pop punk fanship. Each track is immaculately produced, features ‘super stoked!’ songs about one’s ex/prospective girlfriend or friends, unwieldy song titles and is, of course, catchy as hell. The EP is basically five acoustic versions of tracks from the band’s debut record In It To Win It, so you know exactly what to expect. Opener “I Made A Song On Garage Band And All I Got Was This Lousy Record Deal” displays these guys songwriting chops instantly. Although they aren’t doing anything new, it’s a bouncy track that you’ll be singing all day after only one listen. The lyrics, whilst sometimes a little too cheesy, have a youthful exuberance to them that’s impossible to deny. This energy is quite endearing and makes the EP perfect for summer days and when you’re looking for something light to soundtrack time passing. This can be said for the entire EP. Even though, at times, the vocals are a little too sweet and the lyrics are cringeworthy, the release manages to get away without sounding saccharine mostly through the band’s apparent embracing of simplicity and fun.
Although, I imagine, people might find an acoustic EP of easycore songs a little unnecessary, City Lights are one of the few bands of their ilk that translate a lot better to acoustic. In comparison to the original tracks, the vocals are able to shine without having to battle with layers of breakdowns, the poppy melodies are able to breathe without feeling forced and overall, it feels a lot more accessible and likable than when the band are focusing on when their next ‘heavy bit’ is. Overall, this EP isn’t going to change your life. If you’re not a fan of City Lights before hearing this, you’re probably not going to be a fan afterwards. However, if you are looking for a handful of mellow, catchy tunes that embrace their poppy side, Acoustic EP is release for you.
This was a solid effort by this band and I always enjoy when bands do something of this nature because it gives them the oppurtunity to really branch out and alter things here and there and just give things a new feel. I would have liked to see them do more of that with this rather than just play an acoustic version of five tracks from their album but nonetheless they executed what it was meant to be well. I thought a great example of a band doing an acoustic ep and approaching it with a whole new twist than how they did it originally for the album would be Sleeping With Sirens EP "If You Were A Movie This Would Be Your Soundtrack"