Something very lucky happened to me last week. A friend of mine had recently received a gift card to f.y.e. for his birthday. Alas, not all of us can be music fans, so he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it (besides the card was for eleven dollars [the eleven being “so it can cover tax" as the giver said] and what can you get at f.y.e. for that much anyway?).
Naturally, I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get something for nothing, so I gratefully relieved him of his gift. A few hours (and several dozen pages of “CDs priced $9.99 or lower" on the f.y.e. website) later, I had come across a band with an intriguing-looking EP.
That band was Driving East and the EP was A Black Eye or A Broken Heart
. I previewed the first song on the disc and after about five seconds, I clicked the “Add to Cart" option. Hey, I was bored and tired, so at this point, I didn’t care much about how it sounded (though in hindsight, my first impression was very positive).
One week later, I returned home to find that I had received the CD in the mail. At this point, I had almost forgotten about my order, so I was extra curious as to what I had purchased. I popped the CD in my stereo, and realized that I had found something wonderful.
A Black Eye or A Broken Heart
is a great example of melodicore pop-punk. It’s a hooky, catchy, well-presented, tasteful little piece of work that will make you want to sing along and mosh at the same time.
The first song, “Better Off" starts of with a nice little bit of guitar. It’s the song that originally enticed me to buy this EP. Next, the vocals work their way in. Smooth and crystal clear, they give you a good feeling as you listen. The next track “All Alone" is a typical teenage romance song: Angst at the one you love, anger at him/her when she rejects you, the typical “I suck, what do I have to do to get you back?" It may feel like something you’ve heard many, many times before, but somehow Driving East pull it off spectacularly.
“All She Ever Wanted" is the third song the EP has to offer. Probably the catchiest track on the album, it combines a sense of melody with radio-friendly pop-punk goodness that’ll probably play on repeat in your head for weeks. “Something Left To Save" starts off deceptively less smooth as its predecessors, but mellows out into a nice to listen to song about…well, being alone and in love.
“Perfect Girl" starts off stronger than any other song on the album and breaks down into one of the softest most melodic tracks on the EP. The chorus is especially nice on this one. Catchy, as it should be to please the masses, well-constructed, as it should be to please the critics. The last song, “First to Fly" is quieter on the uptake than any other song. It all builds up to a strong climax around 1:34. It’s a nice way to end a very impressive debut.
On the whole, this is a solid EP. While it may recall the many bands you’ve inevitably heard before, Driving East just have some sort of “musical charisma." I highly recommend looking into them as they are an impressive, up-and-coming new band. They are set to release their first full-length sometime in the summer of 2006. After hearing A Black Eye or A Broken Heart
, I for one, will be looking forward to it.