Artist: I Was a Hero
Album: Youth and Defeat
Pop-punk is on the rise again. We’re back to that point in time where hordes of teenagers are flocking to clubs to see their favorite bands play, and as someone who remembers their first love as pop-punk (thanks to my brother Alex’s imposing of Sticks and Stones on me), this resurgence is both exciting and makes me nervous. Whenever genres “come back” like this there is a wealth of both talent and mediocrity. So when I sat down to give Upstate NY’s I Was a Hero‘s debut release a listen, I frankly was a bit hesitant to hit play. Listneing to new, up and coming bands is a fun experience, but can lead to some really bad consequences a lot of the time. Luckily, I Was a Hero did nothing to make me feel bored or anxious, in fact, Youth and Defeat is a really fun record.
Youth and Defeat doesn’t really break any new boundaries. It’s straight up pop-punk, and it doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not. The songs flow together really nicely, and at times I even forget that the songs change. This could be looked as good or bad, but I like to think it’s good because all of the songs are very cohesive. The album rarely loses pace, and I really love how raw it sounds. On their Bandcamp description they say they “used minimal studio magic (no autotune, minimal drum effecting etc.)” and that’s definitely true, but one of the reasons why this release is good is because of the live sounding feel to it.
The intro track “Leaving Scars” is bound have kids in a frenzy when played live, and while a lot of songs are kind of cliché in regards to lyrical content (friends, girls, and picking ourselves up), I don’t put that down as a bad thing either. Pop punk is about having fun with your best friends in a sweaty basement or VFW. This is the kind of stuff you can move around to and sing along to while hugging your best friend. I’m not too sure how I feel about the acoustic track “2011,” as it feels like your stereotypical acoustic jam, but it’s growing me. It gets better when the singer gets more raw, so I may like it more as I give it more listens. My favorite track on the record has to be “Bus Rides Cost Too Much” as it’s the kind of thing I’d love to sing back into a microphone if it was played live. I generally look at songs how they would translate, and I think this one would be a ton of fun.
Considering this is a first release from I Was a Hero, I really like this a lot and I’m looking forward to see where this band goes. Sometimes bands put out fun releases, then kinda never do anything good again, so the key is seeing this New York pop-punk band push themselves to tour and play a lot, then put out an even more solid second release. Check out this release (below) if you want some solid pop-punk for your summer that is still young enough that you can see them in your best friend’s basement.
Written By Tyler Osborne (follow him on Twitter, sometimes he live tweets when he’s depressed)
FFO: The Wonder Years, Handguns, New Found Glory, Real Friends