Editor's Rating

Have a listen to "No Rush"

Rating out of 10

On The Open Road – Storyteller

Release Date: 26th February 2016
Bandcamp: http://bit.ly/1KPRPRE

The perks of writing reviews comes when you get access to new music. It’s great when you get sent new material to write about; sometimes you discover some new favourite bands that you may have overlooked in the past because another publication has overlooked them. The downside is that you also get some, shall we say, less favourable, material. The answer would usually be that we just don’t cover what we don’t like, but then that wouldn’t make us very objective would it? And what about the humorous bad reviews that we used to read?

Well I don’t mean to pick on pop-punk upstarts On The Open Road, because musically they have delivered some great tracks, even if they are somewhat generic. What I do have to ask is, who decided the mixing and production of their EP ‘Storyteller’ was good enough to release as it sounds on this promo? Quite frankly this is dreadful production; for starters I can hear clipping, my headphones and speakers both struggle with the easycore style breakdowns. What I don’t have is information if this was self-produced or if the trio paid someone to do it, but it sounds like they were ripped off if they were. This would have been acceptable in 2004, not in 2016 where we have countless options of music technology to make something sound good.

Let’s get to the actual music now. Its pop-punk; out and out pop-punk that takes influence from the proper old school sound of Blink 182 and Sum 41, then the revival from the likes of Neck Deep and Roam, whilst also sounding similar to UK act Koopa, who didn’t really make the cut. Also there are the common additions of easycore, the pop-punk with breakdowns trend that clearly isn’t boring too many people yet, its diverse within its own realms of what pop-punk really sounds like.

‘Storyteller’ opens with that easycore style in ‘Chump’, fuelled by lots deep chugs and breakdowns, with layers of chirpy melodies and the gang vocals of “OUR STORY WILL BE TOLD”, which lead on into ‘No Rush’.  The second track has a strong ‘Enema Of The State’ tone to it, vocal style sounds like Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge combined and the guitar melodies remind me of ‘Aliens Exist’ a little. ‘Smooth Sailing Is A Fool’s Thought’ follows that by throwing in a pure mashup of those pop-punk styles I previously mentioned. Vocal styles emulating Blink 182, Sum 41‘s ‘Fat Lip’ esque raps and Neck Deep‘s Ben Barlow, while throwing in more of the breakdowns – it’s a nod to the various generation of the subgenre.

The rest of the EP sounds the same and rather predictable, lots of big hooks, catchy choruses, shoutouts, cool chirpy melodies and crushing breakdowns. Based on the current state of the alternative scene, creatively these guys should blow up in no time, but not through this release. The production really lets it down, I mean if they want it to sound as if they made it in their parent’s garage, then job well done. But this is 2016, only hardcore and gritty punk can pull of the raw vibe well enough. Modern pop-punk sounds a lot more polished and future releases will need much better work on them to really be taken seriously.

For Fans Of: A Day To Remember, Neck Deep, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, and Blink-182