At face value, and going off what they’ve released so far from this new EP, Just About Done haven’t exactly been lighting any fires to get people to sit up and take notice. As what could easily be bundled in the “just another pop-punk band” camp, that’s already an uphill battle, but considering how two of these three tracks have already been released to pretty middling response, it’s not like there’s a great deal of hope going forward that they’ll be able to stick the landing.
And really, they don’t, but that’s more of a case of the pop-punk bottleneck they currently find themselves trapped in than any of their own doing. The truth is that I Am Getting By is absolutely fine at embracing the genre’s slightly grittier, more mature side, but placed alongside the endless slew of other bands working from the exact same template, nothing’s going to stand out or give Just About Done the edge to actually do more than fill in another slot. Even in lyrics which, supposedly, are the way they are for a greater breadth of listener interpretation, it feels like a band scrambling for a workaround for their own lack of bigger ideas, and doing it incredibly conspicuously at that.
It would be tempting to say this feels like a band trying to run before they can walk, if I Am Getting By didn’t show incredible promise in terms of meatier instrumental passages and some fraught vocals from Samantha McGee that really could lead into more very easily. 1029 feels like their biggest hit here in its ability to work some gruffer tension in the guitars around McGee as the emotional nucleus, but with some decent command of melody and an emo-flavoured sepia filter over Strain and Peacemaker, the fundamental pieces are there, and Just About Done seem perfectly capable of doing a lot more with them than they are here.
That’s really what makes I Am Getting By fall so flat; there’s no shortage of ambition or potential stored away in here, but between the reluctance to let it shine and the scant runtime that would barely give it the chance to, Just About Done are selling themselves short in almost every sense possible. It’s not like this is a bad EP for what it is either, but when it could be so much more, it’s hard not to despair about how short of the mark this actually falls.
For fans of: The Story So Far, Real Friends, Forever Came Calling
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘I Am Getting By’ by Just About Done is released on 26th October.