Review Summary: With Even On The Worst Nights, Mixtapes deliver a fairly standard but undeniably infectious serving of pop-punk.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
Mixtapes, a pop-punk band from Cincinnatti, Ohio, have already churned out a multitude of releases since their 2010 formation, and 2012 finally brought about the release of their first true full length record via No Sleep Records. With pop-punk currently being quite the popular genre amongst teens, Mixtapes seem to have released Even On The Worst Nights at precisely the right time.
The record opens with a 54 second introductory track called “Seven Mile”. Typical as it may seem, something sets this introduction apart from many others: it has a purpose!!!!!! “Seven Mile” is a perfect tone setter for the record, and leads into the next track with easy fluidity. While most short introductions are just irksome or unnecessary, this one is perfectly used.
The rest of the tracks, in general, follow the introduction, stylistically: light-hearted, poppy, and catchier than a cold. There isn’t any lack of variety, though; there are fast songs (“One For The Ozarks”) along with tracks that are slower, albeit just as pleasant (“Even On The Worst Nights”) and even a somewhat expected acoustic ditty (“Golden Sometimes”). One problem that I didn’t encounter with this album, VERY surprisingly, was an inability to separate song from song on my first few listens. In pop-punk, bands often fall victim to their own winning formula and end up writing songs that are so similar they can hardly be differentiated, especially when an album has a sizable tracklist as EOTWN. Mixtapes manage to keep a very consistent theme throughout the entire album without having a problem with that, which clearly indicates that the members know what they’re doing with their musicianship.
Lyrically, “Even On The Worst Nights” is quintessentially pop-punk. It’s easy to relate to, clever, a little bit cute, and mildly generic. The lyricists can’t be blamed though for the latter quality, though, as this is what fans of the genre are looking for, and they are clearly writing of events in their own life. The hopeful attitude in the lyrics is perfectly reflected in the vocals, done by Ryan Seaclark and Maura Weaver, both also playing guitar. The combination of male and female vocals, while not too varied, is executed quite well on “Even On The Worst Nights”, which can be a tough thing to do. All too often, in bands that have both male and female vocalists, one will outperform the other, but Weaver and Seaclark have a very clear chemistry and both vocalists are perfect fits for the band’s music.
Overall, despite the extremely simplistic style of pop-punk Mixtapes play, Even On The Worst Nights is a surprisingly varied and remarkably well-put-together album. The members have a very good idea of what they want to do, more than enough skill to do it, and they even managed to get a killer production job. There were only a few flaws I could manage to find; one was the lack of innovation, but that’s hardly a problem in pop-punk. The other is the lack of any real depth. The music is catchy and fun, the choruses will get stuck in your head for days, but it had very little to offer beyond an extremely high fun factor. This record’s true value may not show on the first listen, but with a few repeats, even the angriest elitists will be humming along.