One word that keeps appearing in my head as I listen to Loose End’s latest EP is nostalgia. The Melbourne pop punk/rock band have curated six new songs for their latest EP, Overthinking Everything I Know, which toys with nostalgic elements of 2000s pop punk and emo as well as hard rock trends. Like the emotionally insecure title of the EP, Loose End’s lyrics are what you’d come to expect from an emotional pop-punk ballad. It’s a nostalgic trip back to my high school years where I get glimpses of A Day to Remember, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory and Mayday Parade. Listening to Loose End’s latest batch of tracks is as if some higher power gifted me my long lost iPod Nano from twelve years ago. But after the nostalgia wears off, I’m sitting here listening to a bunch of songs that I struggle to resonate with, in a genre that fails to adapt.
To their credit, Loose End are able to paint vivid imagery to reinforce their lyrical content. Where as many copycats in the genre will scream their emotions through a microphone, Loose End give you an image that sticks with you longer than an earful therapy session. Cracks in the Curtains does this well as the lead singer depicts struggling to fall asleep, laying in bed watching what is going on through the cracks in the curtains. It’s simple but effective imagery.
Instrumentally, Loose End blend the pop formula with heavier breakdowns and vocals, like in Hiding in Someone Else. It’s unexpected at first to hear vocals that you’d associate with hardcore music, riding over a poppy bass line, but it’s another trait that sets Loose End apart from an over-saturated genre. And after the EP is over, I wish they sprinkled a little more of that hardcore flavour into their music. The Stress & The Envy continues the nostalgic trip for me; this is a track I would have adolescently yelled from my rooftop like an angsty teen. Or done so if I was a character in Riverdale. The chorus is catchy, the balladry is memorable, but it’s nothing I haven’t heard before.
Closing track Jordan Street is my favourite track, instrumentally. Glistening guitar riffs shimmer in the foreground as echoing snare and bass kick keeps the momentum. Loose End provide another catchy chorus to head bang along to, though the hyper-realised American tone to the vocals becomes tedious by the end of the EP.
Pop-punk and hard rock are true to my heart, and I have fond memories of the bands that lived in my iPod years ago. Loose End have reminded me of those moments while providing catchy choruses and clever imagery. But what Loose End have also shown is that the genre hasn’t progressed much since the time I put down my iPod Nano. I know there’s still plenty of people beating the pop-punk drum, to which they will enjoy this EP, but I’d like to see these newer bands not only pay homage to the genre, but also push it forward in new ways.
Overthinking Everything I Know is available on November 30.
This review is based upon a copy of Overthinking Everything I Know made available before release.