Pop-Punk, the sub-genre of a genre that (hopefully) everyone on this website loves, is such a broad statement. Whether you love posi-jumps and violent finger points, to pogo’ing along to simple four chord songs that just make you want to bob your head left to right, it seems that Mixtapes debut album on No Sleep Records Even on The Worst Nights seems to have something that everyone can like.
Hailing from Ohio, Mixtapes seems to be the band that will not slow down. With their 6th(?) release in just a short two years, “Even” showcases what this band excels in: Harmonies and catchy tunes. Ryan and Maura have perfected the art of memorable lyrics, as compared to being a band with a bunch of distinguishable “one-liners,” with songs about growing up that will relate to many of the younger generation, making this band a perfect fit for the diverse label that is No Sleep Records. And as their first official “Full-length” album, Mixtapes’ reputation of being a super catchy, song making force from the Midwest will finally reach a more “mainstream” audience that the band deserves.
Although this record has taken a slower step away from it’s predecessors, the band’s ability to make any song in a sing-along has not hindered from their first recordings. With each song conveying a broad message of hoping for a better tomorrow, Mixtapes has found a way to make each one of the 16 songs memorable in their own way without the overuse of “woahs” and “gang vocals” that seem to be so common these days. And this is where the strongest aspect of the band shines through, as each song sounds like the other but they’re not. Every song is unique, yet, familiar. Teetering on the line between original and overused. Making most of the songs equally catchy but without the distinction to make certain songs the “songs that make the album.”
This album seems to be a more mature approach into their songwriting, as Ryan and Maura’s sarcasm is hardly noticeable in this album, which I feel is part of the appeal of Mixtapes. However, this album carries a theme of growing up and it seems the songs are a more serious approach from the band, as this is their first legitimate full length. Maybe this is a step towards a more mature outlook from the band, but this may end up in the band abandoning their older songs that their older fans fell in love with.
“Even,” offers guest vocal appearances from pop-punk heavyweights as Dan “Soupy” Campbell (The Wonder Years) in “Mt. Hope” and Grath (The Steinways/House Boat) on “Anyways.” I can honestly say that this album, like every other Mixtapes record, grows on you after you’ve listened to the album a couple of times, and that this release is a very strong release for the band and No Sleep records.
Overall, I would say that “Even” is a memorable album for the band and I wouldn’t have expected less of this band. Personally, I know this wouldn’t be a go-to album of the summer, but a gem that will stumble across my playlists and end with a smile on my face.
Even On The Worst Nights is available June 26th via No Sleep Records on all your favorite formats and also have several vinyl variations to tantalize the collector nerd in all of us.