Review Summary: Gonna have some great fun while we can still be wild
I’ve always had quite the fascination with the season of summer and everything that it brings. Coming from an area where seasons are actually defined by the weather, summer always brought the bright sun and the best temperatures. Ignoring the obvious things summer delivers, the personal changes it induces intrigue me the most, prompting me to provoke these shifts in mood and attitude. As a music fanatic, I find that the best way to learn about myself and the summer activated modifications of my personality is through albums that capture the essence of summer.
So what does summer mean to AGBPOL? Based off their debut effort, Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?
, summer means a lot of things to the indie rock outfit from Brooklyn, New York. Summer means “catching up on sleep”, doing “anything we want to”, and never wanting to “miss a thing”. Within this same vision of summer there’s tales of hoping that “a fake ID would be enough to make [the night] a little more lively”, and driving “for hours and hours with no direction and no goal except to act stupid”. It’s sometimes difficult to determine if lead singer Pete is describing his past summers or not, but the nostalgic lines like “back then…” and “I want to go back…” hint that most of these carefree times are behind the band. As someone who is living within these times, it’s almost a bit surreal hearing someone describe the feelings associated with the summer with extreme accuracy. Yet, the more fascinating aspect of the album is the same thing that sets this band apart from any other average indie/emo nostalgia-ridden band: the music behind the lyrics.
Soaring melodies, upbeat, crunchy percussion, and catchy guitar parts are the name of the game for AGBPOL. These aspects coupled with Pete’s laidback, baritone vocals make for not only insanely fun and appealing songs, but, more importantly, songs that are able to convey all the wistful feelings of teenage summers. Almost every song on the album has an addictive quality to it, not in the sense that you want to keep listening over and over again, but more so that you have to partake in the uplifting vocal melodies riddled throughout the album. The “oh ohs” and group vocals seen in many of the choruses portray this carefree lifestyle, and since the band isn’t holding anything back, neither will you as a listener as each chorus prompts you to join in like you’re the missing piece to the puzzle. This inviting nature is done so brilliantly, yet it’s far from overbearing or repetitive as most melodies define themselves within each song, only carrying the catchiness aspects over to the next track. The cohesiveness of the entire album is also impressive, and it’s most evident in the clever foreshadowing technique utilized through the hummed melodies on 'I Will Gobble You Up' that later reappear later in a more fleshed out, intense manner on ‘Learn to Share’. More importantly, though, is the LP’s ability to connect thematic ideas of the wonders of youth with the tedious, dull habits of adulthood. Both lyrically and melodically AGBPOL is able to string together 13 songs with great ease, making for an entertaining and exciting listen.
Individual songs do find a way of standing out, however, but because of the lack of a weak song, I’m convinced the highlights of the album boil down to personal preference. For me, I’m particularly drawn to the 2nd track ‘We Don’t Need Our Heads’, a twinkly, straightforward indie jam that really shines when the band pushes the limits of its own dynamics and concludes the song with a high energy breakdown. Slower tracks like ‘Bring Back Breakfast‘ take the necessary time to build, providing for amazing climaxes that seem to just click when they appear. Yet, the true highlight from this album isn’t necessarily an individual song, but instead it's the things I take away about myself after listening to it. So listen to this release with an open mind. It probably won’t change your life but who knows, maybe you’ll rediscover what it’s truly like to have fun.