Review Summary: The adrenaline shot to the heart of the pop punk scene.7 of 7 thought this review was well written
Pop punk has been the latest genre set for extermination by the flourishing of copycats that all look and sound so identical you would swear major record labels have cloning facilities. American Apparel models flaunting skinny jeans and brightly colored v-necks are what passes as "pop" punk ready to be gobbled up by teenage girls worldwide. I emphasize the pop because these times are a far cry from the roots where legit bands cared more about creating passionate art than fixing two toned hair on MTV.
It comes as no surprise that the constant ringing of POP PUNK IS DEAD echoes throughout state lines. This is a fretful observation by those diehards who have been wishing for the golden years. I myself have found it dead tiresome to need to explain the difference between legends like The Get Up Kids and atrocities like Simple Plan to ignorant onlookers. Thankfully, I was introduced to a little band from my home state of sunny California proudly titled after The Movielife album This Time Next Year.
Road Maps and Heart Attacks isn't just a debut album, its a complete masterpiece that accomplishes and says more than most bands whole discographies can hope to muster. Headed by Pete Dowdalls (vocals), Brad Wiseman (guitar, vocals), Denis Cohen (guitar), Tony Allio (bass), and Robbie Coran (drums), This Time Next Year is single handedly the adrenaline shot to the heart of a once flat lined pop punk scene.
The bands sound brings an instant reminder of the good old days and their inspiration is evident by Wiseman who states, "I don't care who you are, at some point you listened to Blink-182, New Found Glory or The Movielife, and if you listen to any kind of alternative rock today, that was there in your youth." There's not a single dull moment and Road Maps manages to capture the raw essence of the past while still remaining original. It's a sign of good faith when the opening track can easily compete for a track closer.
Brad Wiseman's raspy vocals add just enough hardcore spunk to keep a closed minded veteran from hitting the stop button while Pete Dowdalls's infectious voice smooths over the pace. The instruments leave not a single transition or segment half assed and it's honestly nice to see a band that isn't content on sticking to basic chord cliches to drive the point home. When most "pop" punk bands spring up the drummers qualifications normal stop at standard ability with cheese-tastic drum machines. Thankfully Robbie Coran believes in following such guidelines that keep his dignity and pure energy intact.
Road Maps and Heart Attacks offers wishful thinkers who love this genre hope for the future. It's good to see kids that seem humble about where they came from and where they want to go. This Time Next Year doesn't need a silly image or tasteless mainstream promos and I thank them for not clamoring to the pitfalls. The album succeeds in the fact that each track could pass as a single with the order of the set list becoming irrelevant. If your aspiration is to stumble upon some jams that will reinstall your faith in what true pop punk could be once more then you've struck gold.