New York quintet From States Away are just one of the many bands that the city has produced, most notable being The Strokes, Sonic Youth and The Velvet Underground. This leaves therefore two options; break the mould and be great, marking yourself a place among these greats, or stay safe and embody completely your genre, breaking no new ground and taking no risks. Sadly, the band went with the latter, resulting in Hypervigilant, an EP that is an effort to listen to.
Opener Ashes is strangely upbeat for a song about social anxiety that describes how everytime vocalist Chris Lauletti tries “to stand I get swallowed by the dark”. However the song sounds disingenuous, not just for the weirdly poppy anthem it is but for the shouted lyrics that prevent themselves being believable. Such vocal style is more suited to Chasing Amy and is emphasised by the soft tone of the guitar before the chorus erupts into a cry of desperation.
By the third track though, it’s all too much and it’s too much effort to listen; the EP is nothing new to pop-punk. All the melodies feel like they’ve been played before and the shouting induces a headache. Fight Or Flight and Ferris Wheel are basically the same tune recycled, bar the cleverly placed drums that lead both songs, immediately reducing the need to listen to the whole EP. Serenity offers a brief respite for all of the ten seconds it takes for the song to actually build; the gentle riff and its build thanks to production are actually good and are missed when the band unleash their usual style.
For a sophomore EP it’s not awful; it showcases all the basic elements of pop-punk and there are some decent lyrics. However, the repetitiveness of the EP is exacerbated because there are only five songs so be hypervigilant for the strong case of déjà vu that will undoubtedly afflict you.
For fans of: Real Friends, State Champs, The Story So Far
Words by Clara Duffy
‘Hypervigilant’ by From States Away is released on 8th July.