Fivestar Riot are a young band that falls victim to the problems of many young bands. The band doesn't quite seem to have figured out what sound they are going for, and the lyrics dip into the cliché a little too often.
The EP opens with "Unfamiliar Sky." The band uses a dumbed down American Football riff, electronic drums, and a keyboard backing to give off a Minus The Bear electro-indie pop feel. The song moves along pretty well until about a minute in when some of the electronics seem to drop out on the wrong beat and make for an awkward and distracting moment.
From there the band moves into "Better," a Juliana Theory-styled pop-rock track where the band seems the most comfortable. The structure is interesting, the melodies are right on target, the bass lines are intricate, and the backing vocals are well-placed and executed. The only problem here is the cliché lyrics and typical rhymes like "When I turn around all I see is distance that keeps me from you and you from me," and "If something's broken, we'll make it right / We're not giving up on this tonight."
The third track "Through the Rain" is perhaps the most out of place track on the EP. It opens with screechy, harmonic Thrice riffs and then moves along like a simpler version of a Thursday song complete with backing screams. It just really doesn't seem to fit the with the indie pop that comes before it or the emo/pop-punk that comes after it; instead, it comes off like the band have just been listening to too much Hawthorne Heights.
The band moves back into its pop territory with "Mischief And Mayhem (Sweet Sixteen)." The song is a catchy piece of emo but it just sounds so familiar. The lyrics also run into problems again; "Where are you going? Don't leave I'll be there soon. I've got something to share with you," just leave a little to be desired.
The EP closes out with "Celebrity," a song whose opening passage sounds almost identical to Saves The Day's "Firefly." Again, its dynamics just seem a little too familiar, and then the song suddenly drops from a mid-tempo rocker into a piano interlude with a dance beat leaving you wondering if the band has just started a new song. Finally, it closes with another Saves The Day rip-off. This time the building guitars and repeated vocal line recall the closing of "My Sweet Fracture."
Fivestar Riot are a young band who are still developing their sound. The vocals are surprisingly strong and the band can bust out some great hooks and catchy parts, but they still seem a little confused as to where they want to go. Their influences are still too prominent in their tone, but they've got plenty of potential.