Content to play the straight ahead melodic punk that helped their last full length Delusions find its way into various punk websites end of year lists, Ft Collins, Colorado based Elway are giving us pretty much more of the same on this new EP.
Like Delusions it’s hard to see what captured critics and fans ears and propelled the band onto these punk rock best of year lists as much of the music on Hence My Optimism borrows heavily from other bands pushing Elway’s music to the point of plagiarism. Opener “Dear Colorado” is Less Than Jake ska-punk without the Ska. Sure, it’s dumb fun but there is still the uneasy feeling of a band reliving their record collections especially when “Dear Colorado” leads straight into the Alkaline Trio karaoke of “25 Years”. The Dan Adriano vocals and Hot Topic, gothic Mall-punk that destroyed the once influential Chicago band is shamelessly stolen here as Frontman Tim Brown sounds like he is singing over a throwaway “Good Morning” outtake where the vocal track has been scrubbed out. Hence… isn’t a total lost cause however, the bands energy has managed to be captured in the studio and it’s been recorded with enough spark and rough charm that gives it the feel of a jam session.The songs are melodic and hooky but it’s just a shame that the melodies and hooks all belong to other bands. The chorus of “Not To Self” turns it into the best song that Bracket and Smoke or Fire never wrote, Tim Brown’s Joe McMahon pained rasp struggling to keep up with the fast paced tempo’s and flurry of chord changes is breathlessly exciting and makes the Plaid shirt, gruff pop punk by numbers linger thankfully in the distance for three minutes.
Elway are a good band waiting to happen, they just need a shot of originality and step outside of the comfort blanket of their favourite records. Until that happens the shadow of a pop-punk tribute act hangs over them.
Hence My Optimism was released on June 12th via Red Scare. You can check it out at the Red Scare store below.
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