Review Summary: “By the book Pop Punk” gets a wake up call.
Massachusetts: The cradle of America, the hub of American Liberalism, and a hot spot for the flourishing Pop Punk sound. While the list of bands are countless, the flagship bands are A Loss For Words, Transit, and Four Year Strong. With such enormous bands carrying the banner of Massachusetts, it is no surprise that the Bay State is able to produce more young talent. The reader might agree with me and say that while there definitely is youth in Pop Punk, there is no talent. My response to them would be to Say Hello to Massachusetts' Born Without bones.
The opener and title track of this album is opened by acoustic guitar playing and then driven by a soaring vocal performance, very reminiscent of early Jimmy Eat World. The first portion of Say Hello essentially follows the precedent set by the opening track. Out Of Step could be completely mistaken as early Fall Out Boy material as the vocalist puts on his best impersonation of Patrick while being backed by a bouncy and playful melody for a majority of the song. Falling Asleep and Em, the tracks following, offer some of the most entertaining hooks and choruses on the entire album. Falling Asleep is a standout track as it is a great contrast to Out Of Step. The vocalist performs with an entirely different vocal style, even adding in some shrill shrieks on this particular song. He shows that he can sing in a variety of styles and is not just a Patrick Stumpf wannabe. His vocal performance in Em also compliment this statement.
While the first few tracks offer you the energy and playfulness of Pop Punk, the mood and artistic style of this album takes a drastic change. The change is noticed first in Consider This, as the energy in this song begins to slow into the song called Sound of a Crowded Room. This song in particular is a short and quiet track with the addition of a female vocalist that adds more depth to the song. The quietness of this track doesn't last for long as it briefly dances with the elements set by the tracks before it. GKN adds in a lot more depth to the album as the song comes complete with a horn and strings section. While far too grandiose for what seemed at first to be a run of the mill Pop Punk album, it is fitting and gives the listener much more than they bargained for. The durability of this band almost comes off as spectacular with songs like the piano driven ballad You being executed with pinpoint precision.
While the vocalist might seem to be showered with compliments, the instrumental section of this band shouldn't be overlooked. Sunday offers some fun pentatonic riffing and a surprising guitar lead towards the end of the song. The drumming in songs like Privileges and Arachnophobia help keep these two tracks entertaining and engaging. The closing track, The Camera Turns is a culmination of everything that this album offers. From fitting piano melodies backed by acoustic guitar, to soaring vocal performances and explosive guitar play, it is all package into this 6 minute monster of a song that brings the monster of Say Hello to a close.
Although the name of their band implies that they were not born with bones, it is safe to say that they were definitely born with that spark that so many bands these days lack. Their lack of bones have given them the gift of elasticity which has allowed them to stretch over many other genres that are not in their primary vein of Pop Punk and they are able to make all these genres feel at home in the shelter of sound that they create. They do not alienate their Pop Punk fans, but do not try too hard to bring in fans from other genres. If you believe that Pop Punk hast lost it's depth, Say Hello to Born Without Bones.