Review Summary: The perfect blend of old school and new pop punk, Think Big! create a record that only hints at their potential.
Pop punk is a genre that has been frowned upon in recent years due to the increasing number of bands doing the same thing as their peers. Acts like All Time Low and Forever The Sickest Kids rehash the same hated ideas over and over to the tune of six-digit incomes and screaming twelve year olds. Yet, every once in a while, a band will come out of nowhere and deliver an earnest record that breaks up the wave of sameness, by being either very different or very talented (and in some cases, both.) Think Big! could very well be the next band to do so.
Saying that the Pennsylvania natives have a lot going for them would be an understatement. Dual vocalists Zack Dondey and Dan Garofano trade between very strong, sweet vocals and a two-packs-a-day rasp, respectively, while playing a collection of aggressive Daggermouth style riffs and leads. Drummer Lymonte Gurczeski relentlessly pounds out double-time punk beats while throwing in enough double bass gallops to make any metalcore band seethe with jealousy, all backed by solid bass grooves courtesy of Joe Patrone.
The EP (released by Death To False Hope Records) opens with a sound clip before exploding into “I’m Laying Down, I’m Eating”. Between the catchy lead parts and the strong chorus, the song is a perfect introduction to the band. The title track is one of the tightest, abandoning the typical verse-chorus-verse structure for a musically strong bridge that lets both guitarists’ abilities really shine. The dual vocals are put to good use on the Title Fight-esque “Since When”, and despite the slight overproduction in the chorus, it remains a strong track. Closer “We Don’t Belong” shows Garofano at his strongest, backed by unforgiving and surprisingly creative drums, even if the intro riff is a little redundant.
“Seven” is an album highlight, showing Dondey and Garofano trading off lines in a very classic Blink-182 style. Despite the weak lyrics, (“Don’t lose your head/don’t lose your mind/just take a look/and see what you’ll find”) the chorus is so catchy that you’ll be able to look past it. The biggest problem, however, isn’t the lyrics; since this is only a 6-song EP, there isn’t much room for experimentation, so they only pull out a few tricks, even if they execute them terrifically. But to be fair, this album is the band finding and defining their sound, shown perfectly on “Schaghticoke’s So Far Away”. The guitar harmonies are on point and both vocalists shine here stronger than any other track on the record.
No, this sound isn’t totally new. No, Think Big! probably won’t reinvent the genre or become the next misunderstood geniuses of our scene. But this record is a step up from the waves of sameness plaguing the Warped Tour generation with diseases like auto-tune and drum machines. These guys are surely talented, and can only become more so. Zack Dondey claims “I hate growing up” (on “Since When”), but maturing a little more can only bring the band one step closer to releasing something really wonderful.
Dual vocals done better than other bands
Powerful instruments, especially drums
Lyrics feel a little uninspired at times
The band doesn’t brand out from their core sound a lot (not necessarily a bad thing)
Schaghticoke’s So Far Away