Monday, May 23, 2011

CD Review: They Stay Dead

Title:  They Stay Dead (BandCamp)
Artist:  They Stay Dead (BandCamp, Facebook, Twitter)

They Stay Dead’s three song self-titled debut EP is nothing short of fantastic.  Formed out of the ashes of Euclid Crash, They Stay Dead play a blistering combination of melodic hardcore and pop punk that harkens back to the likes of Dag Nasty, Wretch Like Me, and Gameface.  The only problem with this EP is that there’s not more of it. 


The EP opens with “Paper” which includes some excellent guitar work and clips from local newscasts about the band (there was a standoff a few months back at a house near where They Stay Dead was practicing).  Next is “Transmission,” another melodic gem with tight guitar and bass work.  “Darkness” closes out the EP with more of the same great melodic punk. 

I’m about to get really picky here, but I’m a music nerd so please forgive me.  To me They Stay Dead sound more like a melodic hardcore band than a pop punk band.  What’s the difference you ask?  Well to some there’s not a lot and even I must admit the differences are subtly but they are there.  The best way that I can think to explain the differences are by providing examples of each subgenre/style.  Melodic hardcore was essentially started by Dag Nasty and Bad Religion (I would also say that these two bands are the best examples of the style).  Both bands were from the hardcore scene but added melody to their driving music.  Pop punk is a style the blends elements of pop music with punk, the best two examples being the Descendents and Screeching Weasel.  All four of these bands write music that is catchy but the Dag Nasty and Bad Religion material is more melodic in nature while the Descendents and Screeching Weasel material is more poppy in nature.  Make sense?  Anyway, to my ear They Stay Dead seem to have more in common, sonically at least, with Dag Nasty and Bad Religion than the Descendents and Screeching Weasel.  Not that they haven’t obviously spent many an hour at the alter of Bill Stevenson mind you, but their sound seems to me at least to rely more on melody than pop.  Either way though, this is a band and an EP that fans of pop punk should love and definitely check out.  Now if they could just hurry up and get back into the studio to record a full length album, that’d be great! 

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