REVIEW: Vinnie Caruana – City By the Sea

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Artist: Vinnie Caruana
Album: City By the Sea
Label: Run For Cover Records
Genre: Punk/Acoustic

If you like pop-punk music and don’t know who Vinnie Caruana is, you’re probably really young, and that’s not really your fault. For those who don’t know, Vinnie Caruana has been in the pop-punk scene for a while now, first becoming famous for fronting the iconic band The Movielife. Now as the singer of I Am the Avalanche, Vinnie is slowly but surely making his way back into the ears of kids all over the punk scene. However today, I’m not reviewing either of those two bands, but rather, Vinnie’s latest effort as a solo artist. This is a really slippery slope. When artists try to venture out on their own and do a project by themselves, a lot of the time there isn’t as much shine or the thing that made their original bands special. While Vinnie’s new EP City By the Sea doesn’t blow me away the first time I heard both of his other bands, it’s a very good solo effort that will definitely be getting rotations within my library.

City By the Sea is exactly what you expect. Consisting of six songs, Vinnie takes his punk sensibilities and mellows out a bit. The first thing when listening to this EP was “Man, I wish I could listen to Vinnie just sing these songs to me around a campfire.” Is that weird? Probably. But it’s that very intimate atmosphere that Vinnie brings to the table that makes City By the Sea really special. Musically, the guitarwork isn’t anything mind-blowing. But it’s catchy, gets stuck in your head, and that’s exactly the purpose of an EP such as this. It’s music that you can listen to and feel warm and doesn’t get you all crazy. In a punk scene where bands are always pushing to be the most aggressive, most angry, and most driving, Vinnie reminds us that it’s okay to slow down every once in a while. “Kingwood” is a beautifully constructed song where it’s simplicity is what really makes it stand out. Lyrically, City By the Sea will sound very familiar to all of Vinnie’s previous works, and I’m thankful for that.  Vinnie’s lyrics have always been super relatable and to the point, and he doesn’t change a thing with his solo release. “Somehow the World Keeps Turning” is a great example of lyrics that aren’t trying to hard and are still more effective than tons of bands and solo artists in the scene right now.

If you like The Movielife and I Am the Avalanche, Vinnie Caruana’s City By the Sea is a necessity for your library. That’s a fact. If you aren’t familiar with those bands or don’t like them, is this release something you should still pick up? The answer is yes. Vinnie brings something different to the table that I think can be universally enjoyed by a wide range of audiences. I will be listening to this a lot in the coming months, but probably even more so in the late hours of my Summer nights.

SCORE: 8/10

Written By: Tyler Osborne

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