Since the blow up of Green Day's classic breakthrough album Dookie
way back in 1994, pop-rock/pop-punk is a genre that has seen much success in the mainstream. For the most part, any type of "rock" heard on the radio is of this sort, and while it is often criticized for all sounding very similar, it really isn't a wonder as to how this genre is so popular; catchy and simple guitar melodies with a clean and often nasally soaring vocal performance, which is then layered with tons of background vocals. In recent years, bands such as All Time Low and Fall Out Boy has bastardized this formula to no extent, but of course, have experienced great success due to it as well. Formed back in 2003, The Wedding is a pop-punk from Arkansas that instead of using the time tested "success formula" has sprinkled their albums with hints of ska, southern rock, post-hardcore and even metal at some points. With their 2008 release The Sound, The Steel EP
, The Wedding prove that being an original band in a sea of often monotonous groups pays off in dividends.
While The Sound, The Steel EP
does contain its fair share of common pop-punk elements, what really sets the band apart is the inclusion of elements from several other types of music and how well they combine those into cohesive, flowing songs. Second track "The Return" combines the hook filled vocal melodies of pop-punk with the raucous, upbeat guitar lines of southern metal, and also even manages to sprinkle in some post-hardcore influences as well. "Receive" features the often punk gang styled vocals amongst monolithic, churning metal styled riffs, and surprisingly enough all these elements fit together perfectly. The Wedding show throughout The Sound, The Steel EP
that they have the talent to take all these influences and craft songs that are completely and totally enjoyable. Aside from The Sound, The Steel EP
harboring great songs, it also shows some great individual performances from the band members. Singer Matt Shelton has much rawer voice than his contemporaries, a fact that no doubt helps on the rare instances on the album where he forgoes clean singing for the screamed approach of post-hardcore. However, in the slower songs, such as "Renew" and closing piano driven ballad "Redeem" he shows his range, with a well toned, soft croon. Guitarists Trevor Sarvor and Adam Thron are not incredibly technical players, but with their playing ranging from the octave harmonization of pop-punk to the pentatonic playing of southern rock, the guitar work is incredibly enjoyable nonetheless.
Overall The Sound, The Steel EP
in its short length makes for a very interesting, and fun listen. It's always great to see a new direction being put into a stagnating genre, and The Wedding definitely prove here that they have the skills to offer new and exciting pop-punk back into the world. Where the band will go from here nobody knows, but if they continue to follow the progress they have shown on The Sound, The Steel EP
the band will definitely be a big-name in the mainstream in no time.