You know, one of the better bands I discovered through this site (and there are many) would have to be Gatsbys American Dream. Ribbons & Sugar is one of few albums I can clearly remember listening to for the first time, where I was, and what went through me while listening to it. Up to that point I never really thought about how catchy songwriting could go with a more technical approach, like blending sweet and sour. But hey! sometimes that works, like adding some syrup to your yogurt. Regardless, those things don’t come by too often, and as much as I love GAD, I craved for more.
Hence we come to Best Interest. What really sets this band apart from GAD is that they are a lot more aggressive with heavier guitar work. It’s really hard to put my finger on the songwriting of this band in that it’s pretty complex. They might have more traditional songwriting in that they’ll write something with a verse/chorus/verse/chorus/break structure but they’ll change the verses a little or shift the rhythm at unpredictable moments. A particular weird example is the song ‘Read My Lips’ which has a fairly long melodic intro and then immediately dives into a chorus... that sounds like it’s actually something of an outro. What’s also really cool is that their breakdowns are often completely out of the blue in context of the rest of the song in that they use them to showcase something interesting like a clean guitar break or a weird effect-laden lead-guitar part. They can also have completely linear songs that start in one place and end somewhere completely else without any repetition whatsoever, ala GAD or Tera Melos.
I cannot accurately describe the songwriting without talking about the instrumentation. The guitar work here is, like I said before a lot more aggressive and draws a lot of influence from the heavier riffs found in post-hardcore, while not abandoning the melodic guitar lines of pop-punk. This often results into really interesting guitar work with both guitarists playing interesting chord progressions and/or melodies that compliment each other extremely well. They blend in the melodies really well by tremolo picking the melodic lines which makes them more aggressive sounding and thus fitting in nicely with the rhythm guitar. Another really cool technique used throughout the album is that a lot of melodic guitar lines are palm-muted which then often combined with some cool effect gives the songs an almost proggy vibe.
The bass really shines on this album. If anything, it’s extremely rare to hear a six string bass in a pop-punk band, and they do an outstanding job. Rather than following the rhythm guitar constantly the bass is doing its own thing by locking in between the guitars and the drums. Next to that, on some songs the bass plays a much more central role on which the guitars are based around. The drumming isn’t balls out ridiculous most of the time but I don’t know too many pop-punk bands who have a drummer who actually uses a double bass. This is used very tastefully and mostly to give certain guitar parts a bit more power.
The band also boosts dual vocalists, and this is both a weakness and strength of the album. Neither vocalist has a particular great voice on their own but because one sings in a higher range and the other in a lower range they compliment each other fairly well. That said, they could have been more creative with their singing as they use the same harmonies a bit too much throughout the album.
That said, it’s really one of the few flaws I can find on this album. If you’re a fan of technical punk music, this is highly recommended.