This split EP between Pentimento and Young English is already creating a lot of buzz around the punk rock world, and let me tell you, it is for good reason. These songs are hard hitting and full of heart. Both Pentimento and Young English offer a refreshing take on emotional hardcore with a healthy dose of pop punk.
Both Pentimento and Young English only have one EP behind them and through these songs we can hear that they are ready to just explode on the punk scene. For this spilt each band offers three original songs and one cover. (I am always a fan of a cover, because usually it gives a new listener a single point of recognition and allows them to be pulled into the original material even more.)
Pentimento kicks off the split with four tracks of infectious high energy. The first track, L’esprit De Escalier (The Stairs), reminds of the hardcore that I used to love, the hardcore in the 90s that blurred the line between hardcore and punk with bands like Avail and Hot Water Music. My favorite element of this track is the back and forth between the lead vocals and the backing vocals. The vocals along with the heavy drum beats and guitars create a great passion that really is the driving force behind the song.
Tracks two and three, No Apology and The Bridge, were much catchier than I expected after hearing track one. No Apology has this heavy cadence of music and vocals that pulls the listener along through the whole song. I found myself unintentionally moving to the beat every time I listened to it. It also contains these great lines that I really connected with, and I think that most of us can connect with, though our reasons might be vastly different, “I guess the irony connects when I imagine all our friends / Hanging out and talking again.”
The Bridge, on the other hand is a bit lighter sounding, but there is no dip in the intensity of the music or the singing. It provides a perfect contrast to the heavier tracks to show the diversity of the band’s style.
Track four is the cover, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most originally by Dashboard Confessional. Now, I cannot do a fair comparison to the original, because I never really got into Dashboard Confessional. What I can say is that when I first listened to this EP I thought that this track felt and sounded different that the other three tracks I had just listened to. I also thought that those other three tracks felt more natural and honest. After I realized that it was a cover, my feelings made sense and I liked the track a bit more, because it was supposed to have that different feel to it.
Now it is time for the Young English half of the split. The first thing that we notice is that they are poppier than Pentimento but still powerful.
Woke Up Underwater is the first song that we hear from them, it begins steady and full of energy and we are psyched on for a solid two and a half minutes. At the (roughly) two and a half minute mark the music drops down and they create a lull that is so beautiful and calming, only to thrust the listener back into the intensity of the rest of the song. I can totally see the pit during this song, thrashing, then pausing for a few moments, only to go crazier when the music kicks back in.
Old Wives Tale is a slower song with quiet verses and heavy chorus and great moments of screamo vocals. The most fantastic element of this track is the layering of vocals. There are moments of vocals that sound like there are echoing one another, there are moments of traditional vocals underneath the screamo vocals, and moments of harmony, each perfectly executed.
So Long, Connecticut is their sing along song, there is no way that after you heart this song even once, you are not singing, “I miss Connecticut and the way you used to feel.” This whole track is filled with a passion that is contagious that the listener feels a bit of release at the end of the song.
The cover that Young English chose is Tonight, Tonight originally by the Smashing Pumpkins. Now, I did know this was a cover, but it take me a minute to realize that is was this particular song. Now, I might be a bit biased because I think that the Smashing Pumpkins are one of the most overrated bands in history and I simply don’t understand why, but I think that Young English improved this song immensely. I love the edgier fuller feeling that I get from this version.
These bands have two distinct sounds that work so well together on this record. Pentimento is a bit heavier and Young English has a poppier undertone, but they both make you feel good. Both of these bands have a shitload of heart and that is the main element that comes through in each of their songs, and that is enough to make me a fan.
Since I first listened to this split I have been following these guys on twitter (Pentimento / Young English) and they just seem like damned good guys who are really into making music and keeping the punk scene awesome. So go support them, go buy they album and see some shows. The split is out digitally on Panic Records on Tuesday March 27th and will be available on cd and vinyl on April 17th. (If you preorder the cd you get a few extra goodies.)