Shambles - Shambles EP (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Shambles EP (2012)


Allston, Mass.'s Shambles can be seen as following a current trend of bands playing pop-punk heavily influenced by the late '90s and early '00s, but shockingly their self-titled EP is actually memorable amongst a myriad of stylistic clones. Perhaps it is because while this sounds like a product of its time, it actually draws from a much deeper musical history and still stays relatively fresh.

Immediately, "Yup, 27 And Still Writing Pop-Punk" is full of what you might expect from this kind of band: clean singing, crunchy guitars and a focus on the vocal melody. However, the band throws in a fantastic little breakdown about a minute-and-a-half in that brings something unexpected and breaks up any monotony that might otherwise set in. While this music might be the provenance of youth, it is clear that the more advanced years of the writers (as indicated in the title) helps bring perspective that you can't trade for all the parking lot donuts and big gulps in the world. Shambles is isn't musically locked into the early aughts either, as "Wait So Umm, You Eat Chicken Right?" has a brooding quality and stop-start rhythm that could fit into a lost mid-era Alkaline Trio record and "ATL... DTF?" somehow walks a like between Dear Landlord and the Ataris.

While not quite as loose or adventurous musically, Shambles remind me a lot of Junior Battles. Both bands wear their pop-punk love as badges of pride and both show a studied history of the genre in their playing. There is also a recurring theme of growing up within the scene that permeate this EP, that those plucky Torontonians really took to task exploring in 2011. The difference is Shambles tend to show a bit less nuance and a bit more cliché but there is always room for growth.

It is exciting to know that for all the t-shirt designs, tribute acts and empty slogans out there, there are still bands that take the time to craft pop-punk that stands out while still staying true to each side of the hyphen. If you are a fan of catchy pop-punk tunes you really need to check Shambles out.