Review Summary: "Cause I am way too young for this, and all your stupid grown up shit."Growing Up
is the debut EP from Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Human After All. Comprised of five angsty twenty-somethings, the band writes fun, catchy pop punk. The problem that arises when writing in said genre is that many bands don’t deviate from the stereotypical, power chord jams that plague the scene. Emo-tinged lyrics and overdriven guitars set to up-tempo drumming and simple bass lines, this band hits every mark on the pop punk checklist. But is the music actually any good?
Melodies are crucial to the success of a pop punk record. How many times have you found yourself with a pop punk song stuck in your head? Even if you don’t know the words, I’m sure you’ve caught yourself humming along to a chorus or two. This EP has some catchy melodies, but they’re not all that different. In fact, the first time I listened to the record, I thought the first song had played twice; the verses in “I Hate My Friends” and “Roman” are strikingly similar.
Transitions are almost non-existent on this record. It seems like there were a lot of ideas thrown around: riffs, verses, choruses, and bridges. Then, at some point, they couldn’t figure out how to make it all work, so they just put them together. Verses fall into choruses, every bridge has gang vocals, and at the end of “Roman” they throw in a courtesy circle pit for all the punk kids who felt left out. When the EP is done, it’s hard to discern it from all the other pop punk bands that haven’t escaped their local scenes.
The standout track on the album, “Hang from the Neck”, while lyrically weak, has the best guitar lines and vocal melodies. Reminiscent of bands like Fireworks and Stickup Kid, it shows that this band does indeed have potential; it’s just a matter of sitting down and trimming the fat.
Overall, Growing Up
isn’t the very fun, catchy pop punk album it wants to be. Its four songs feel forced and contrived, with little to no originality. Luckily, there are some good ideas here, they just need a little more time to bloom, I suppose.