Review Summary: Smooth, soothing, honest, sincere and enjoyable pop punk you don't need to feel guilty about enjoying.
Like the vast majority of music lovers, I genuinely enjoy going to concerts. Along with the obvious pleasure of seeing bands I know and love lay down a terrific set, one of my favorite aspects about going to shows is discovering new bands. As of late it seems opening bands have been on one extreme or another for me. I say that in the sense that they cause me to either plug my ears during their set or shovel some money out of my wallet and make my way towards their merch table after the show. I recently discovered band called We The Kings who caused me to do the second of the two scenarios. Their wonderfully performed, tight, upbeat, and catchy sound is perfectly captured on their self titled debut record. Throughout the record they perfectly balance genuine sincerity and youthful energy. The final product is an infectiously solid and cheerful sound.
The style of pop punk they play is incredibly easy to get into. Between their soothing progressions and fairly laid back riffs, the group does not focus on the punk part of their genre. It’s rare to find a ‘mosh’ moment on the record and I won’t say this about most pop punk records but I’m glad this is the case here. What their moderately paced music does is allow vocalist Travis Clark’s voice to fully shine. He just has a voice which speaks to listeners with genuine sincerity and does so in a seemingly effortless manner. Typically the group churns out tunes with softer verses and louder choruses. They use this style in the first six songs on the record and I wouldn’t hesitate to label them all incredibly enjoyable jams. Single “Skyway Avenue”
stands out as Travis exercises some perfectly placed and executed falsetto in the chorus. “August Is Over”
perfectly showcases their clean guitar based verse and explosive chorus style. Now you must be thinking this formula on a pop
punk has disaster written all over it, especially in the long run.
Thankfully, the group rarely finds itself stuck in a rut of repetition as the songs are quite easy to differentiate as the group is quite solid instrumentally. Guitarist Hunter Thomsen exercises the same style in the majority of songs. However, quality stays high as he churns out some great clean riffs and contrasts them with terrific lightly distorted progressions. Some slightly distorted riffs are placed sparingly throughout the record and really add a lot to tracks such as “The Quiet”
. While the brief lead in “Stay Young”
may be the only one the record has to offer, it is a superior fit for the track. In terms of the rhythm section the group does a very respectable job. Bassist Drew Thomsen is heard clearly throughout most of the record and shines especially during the softer verses. Drummer Danny Duncan manages to never overplay a section or make himself vulnerable for the metronome label. His smooth tom shuffles in “All Again For You”
add a tremendous amount of depth to the song. Instrumentally the group is nothing out of the ordinary but they do more than enough to keep things entertaining.
When that is combined with a terrific singer who fits the music perfectly, all that’s left in the equation is lyrical content. The majority of the songs are love and relationship oriented. This is a huge red flag on many records but here the sincerity and authenticity of the lyrics far outweighs the cheese factor. When delivered the lyrics are nearly impossible to ignore due to their sheer honesty. The group isn’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves as nothing is held back. When the record comes to a close with the piano based ballad “This Is Our Town”
listeners really gain an appreciation that the group has created a wonderful record. The track is emotional and dramatic without being overdone. That phrase just about sums up the entire record. Things are sincere and honest and when coupled with an enjoyably smooth and catchy sound, the record is hard to ignore. Its certainly a pop
punk record, but its one that you don’t need to feel guilty about spinning. We The Kings certainly have a bright future in front of them as their self titled record and tour schedule supporting it has them moving forward at an impressive pace. By 2008 they are almost guaranteed to be a household name in the pop punk world. And they’re even pretty cute on top of it all.
Check Yes Juliet
August Is Over
All Again For You
Final Rating: 4/5