For those readers who are unfamiliar with them, With the Punches
is a pop punk band from Newburgh, NY. Their style falls in line with
the modern pop punk that’s so popular with the kids these days- there’s a
definite hardcore influence on their music, but there are also layers
upon layers of melodies and a keen sense of pop music driving their
songs. After four years of playing shows together, the band has just
released their debut LP, Seams & Stitches, on Doghouse Records.
Seams & Stitches plays it relatively safe. Twelve songs about
girls, heartbreak, wanting to ‘get out of this place’, and betrayal. The
music is also fairly standard: lots of fast chugging, steady beats, and
guitar leads that appear to be present at all times. In many ways,
“Seams & Stitches” sounds a lot like New Found Glory’s self titled
and Valencia’s “This Could Be a Possibility” had a child. I don’t mean
that in a bad way- it’s just a way of saying that a lot of what is on
this album has been heard before.
Still, Seams & Stitches has its moments, even if it’s been done
before. The true highlight is probably the intensity of lead singer
Jesse Vadala’s vocals. At times he sounds a little similar to Valencia’s
Shane Henderson, but there’s an aggressiveness in Vadala’s voice that
is definitely a integral part of With the Punches’ sound. It’s that
harshness that sometimes enters his voice that really sells the bitter
attitude in tracks like “Postcards” and “Face Value” (which happen to be two of the strongest tracks present on the album).
In the realm of pop punk, whether it’s been done before or not should
be irrelevant- there are only so many ways to experiment with the sound
before you’re playing a different genre. With the Punches don’t try to
be anything that they’re not- and it works out well for them. The band
may not be reinventing the wheel on Seams & Stitches, but why
would they want to reinvent something that works perfectly fine?
RIYL: New Found Glory, Valencia, The Story So Far