PVMNTS seem to be the latest in a curious trend running through alternative music at the moment, that being actors focusing their attention on making music. It’s nothing new at all, particularly considering the (often undeserved) success that the likes of Jared Leto and Taylor Momsen have had in both fields, but with Finn Wolfhard’s Calpurnia, Dylan Minnette’s Wallows, and now PVMNTS – the musical vehicle of Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey – the cyclical nature of musical trends seem to coming back around once again.
And in the grand tradition of actors starting vanity projects masquerading as bands, this new crop haven’t had the greatest record of quality, and PVMNTS are no different. Sure, they’re nowhere near as air-headed or self-important as Thirty Seconds To Mars or The Pretty Reckless (the same goes to Calpurnia and Wallows too, for the record), but Better Days is still nothing special, another by-the-numbers pop-punk EP that would never get the time of day if Posey’s name wasn’t attached. It’s not necessarily awful either, but operating on what feels like the most basic and worn-out of pop-punk frameworks doesn’t exactly go anywhere.
Sure, there’s always the old standards that pop-punk can default to, and with some admittedly sticky hooks on Standing (On My Own Two Feet) and Another Monday, as well as a lyrical focus that does take in more depth and pathos, it’s not as if there’s nothing here whatsoever. The problem is the presentation, and how PVMNTS’ approach takes the form of virtually every pop-punk band stuck in 2013 with no desire to evolve. Both Posey and Freddy Ramirez have a vocal tone that’s interchangeable with anyone else of their ilk; instrumentally, there’s nothing to set them apart from the already-infinite number of The Story So Far clones who are or have ever done the rounds; and when the double-time drums come in on Chemical Trails and Heavy Moon, it becomes all the more clear that PVMNTS are pulling wholesale from the genre about five years ago with none of their own flair.
It’s disappointing, but not all the surprising. Pop-punk isn’t in the most rude of health as it is at the minute, and while PVMNTS aren’t actively contributing to any sort of decline, by playing it safe and keeping within that stasis, they aren’t helping either. Even with the couple of tracks here that are fairly decent, Better Days isn’t an EP that demands much attention, especially when you can find bands doing more or less the same thing with minimal effort already.
For fans of: The Story So Far, Like Pacific, ROAM
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Better Days’ by PVMNTS is released on 17th August.