Review Summary: I wanna be best buds with this record.
The emo scene will always grow and it will always have new good and bad bands added to the mix. There will always be new groups that do nothing more than rehash other bands and bring nothing new to the table, coming off as boring and generic. There will also always be groups of musicians that can write honest and relatable music that is catchy, memorable, and emotional. Mom Jeans. is the second kind of group, and their debut record shows it perfectly. I can’t stress this enough, best buds is an album that does a lot of things right.
The best thing about this record is the way all the instruments fit together. The winding guitar leads and the heartfelt vocals blend perfectly with the pounding drums and intricate bass work. The instruments work perfectly with the vocals to create a work of art. The riff in “Danger Can’t” is one the the best and catchiest on the record, while Gabrial Paganin on bass does wonders in the ending of “Girl Scout Cookies.” The drummer, Austin Carango, gets time to shine of the two-minute emotional adrenaline rush of “*sobs quietly*” and the 7/8 to 5/8 transitions in “Remy’s Boyz.” No member is devoid of talent; they all work very well together and it shows.
Eric Butler is the vocalist of Mom Jeans., and he does a stellar job. All of his lines, quiet and loud, come off as heartfelt and genuine. The lyrics he sings can be a little generic and straightforward, but something about it just fits. One example of this is in the track “Poor Boxer Shorts,” in which Butler sings, “I’m so sad whenever you’re not here,” a line that would come off as cheesy if it wasn’t for his perfect delivery. At other points in the album, the lyrics come off as almost purposely stereotypical, like with another line from the same song: “force myself to go outside and get some light and wear a t-shirt that's not black.” It’s almost playful in the way it’s presented. Mom Jeans. doesn’t need convoluted stories or elaborate song structures to make a good record. Butler’s peak vocal performance is in “Remy’s Boyz,” where he proves himself capable of low-range delivery as well as effective and loud, high register notes.
The musical peak of the record comes in the latter half in tracks eight and nine. Track eight, titled “Girl Scout Cookies,” does an amazing job at building through a peaceful intro and energetic first verse to an outstanding chorus, complete with spot-on harmonies and perfect instrumentation. Track nine takes things in a different direction with “Scott Pilgrim vs. My Gpa.” With only acoustic guitar and Butler’s vocals, it’s intriguing and grabs you from the first chord. As the song progresses, trumpet and drums are added, creating a wonderful background for Butler’s lies, repeating the lines “I’m happy here” and “I sleep well alone now.” The transition from soft the loud is wonderfully done and brings this album to an emotional peak that is well worth the wait.
Mom Jeans. has crafted a wonderful emo record. It’s heart wrenching when it needs to be, fun and upbeat when it needs to be, and is constantly sincere with its presentation, and that’s the best thing about this album. best buds is honest, it’s candid, and it’s outspoken about troubles that spawn the issue no one ever wants to talk about, and that’s what makes this record stand out.
Favorite Tracks - Girl Scout Cookies, Poor Boxer Shorts, Scott Pilgrim vs. My Gpa, Vape Nation
Least Favorite Track - Death Cup