Review Summary: Pop punk upstarts offer a glimpse into their bright future.
Being from Scranton, Pennsylvania can have its perks. We're home to America's first ever cars powered exclusively by electricity and we're the setting for the popular TV show "The Office." But our music scene is prospering as well. Motionless in White, The Menzingers and Captain, We're Sinking are a few of the bands that hail from the Electric City. Rising among those ranks are fiery pop punk upstarts Send Request, located a mere thirty minutes away in Nanticoke (affectionately mispronounced "Nanny-Coke.")
Comprised of lead singer Andrew Blank, guitarist Derek Holminski, bassist Aron Wood and drummer Jon Labenski, Send Request are a group on the rise. They've begun to make the rounds touring across the country, came home for a main stage guest stint on the 2017 Vans Warped Tour, and last year signed to SharpTone Records, the label that currently houses bands such as Miss May I and We Came as Romans. Send Request is doing the 570 proud, and their first outing on the label, Perspectives
What you're going to find is ten tracks that harken back to the glory days of pop punk. Summery instrumentals, angsty vocals and introspective lyrics about growing up and knowing your place. Everything that occupied the grittiest and most sugary sweet pop punk of the early 2000s. Album lead off "Dr. Dare Rides Again" is the first exemplar of this, as the track is carried by crunching riffs, smooth basslines and Andrew Blank's first proclomation; "I don't wanna change the world, I just wanna change what's left of me," he tells the listener.
"Talk a Lot" follows the same mold. It plays like a song that would have felt right at home on earlier Yellowcard or New Found Glory works, with beefy instrumentals to boot. "Falling to Pieces" is probably the most enigmatic to the album's progression. The song's music video was shot throughout Scranton and Nanticoke, as the band revisited various milestones from their earliest days together. Andrew Blank sings of starting his healing and beginning the grueling process to maturation. Backed by summery, textbook pop punk riffs, this track is an album hightlight.
Immediately following is the best song off Perspectives
, "Let it Die." Andrew Blank sings lyrics he wrote about moving on and unshackling himself from burdens he needs to strip himself of. "Reminiscing will only make time fly, so I'll let it die," he sings before an empassioned chorus about moving forward. "The only way to move on is to try," he continues. It's nothing overwhelmingly thought provoking, but that's not the song's purpose. The succint lyrical content has the ability to just stick like glue and reach the listener on a more human, tangible level and it plays to the strengths of the composition quite well.
"Antisocial War" is a taste of Derek Holminski's fiery guitar work, throwing a solo in towards song's end. "Please tell me what you're fighting for in this never ending tragedy", Blank inquires of the listener. "Trust" is a slow jam that focuses squarely on Blank's vocals and takes a chance to regulate the pace of the album. "Just know that's me in the corner falling apart," Blank pleads out. "Here's to the Years" is lightly stripped in terms of the guitar work and the mid tempo composition fits perfectly as the group takes another chance to reflect on the journey they've taken thus far.
The six and a half minute finale "If I Stay" closes out Perspectives
with some ominous basslines and chord progressions and serves as the last of a handful of moments on this record the band uses to reach the listener on a level that goes beyond ear-wormy instrumentals. "You tell me that love can take you anywhere," Blank sings as he isolates his nameless muse. "But what is the point if you're never there?", he continues. It's another time on this record the group cautions the listener to break free from unncessary burdens, and is a welcome contrast to some of the balmier, sun-soaked tracks and ends the album on strong terms.
is just the first record Send Request has dropped on SharpTone and the second for their young career in total. But already, they're showing flashes of what's in store. Channeling their own experiences to harken back to some of the genre's hallmarks, Perspectives
is an album that demands to be played front to back. Winding like peaks and valleys, the crestfallen uncertainty of growing up lives harmoniously with arena ready rockers that will have you nodding your head all the way to the beach. It's hard to marry those two in today's musical climate, but Send Request pulls it off in a way that is favorably reminiscent of some of the greatest pop punk of the early 21st century. As they transcend their hometown in the 570, I happily and eagerly await what comes next.