Elway - Hence My Optimism [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Hence My Optimism [7-inch] (2012)

Red Scare

Fort Collins, Colo.'s Elway still plays a brand of melodic punk rock heavily indebted to the Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trios of the world, but they're slowly finding their own sound, and improving in a variety of ways. Hence My Optimism, the group's follow-up to last year's Delusions, may not have the sparkling Matt Allison production of its predecessor, but the songs are strong enough to shine on their own merits. The raw sound quality actually gives the EP its own sort of charm and recalls the days when the group was known as 10-4 Eleanor.

The only minor issue I had with Delusions was that some of the lyrics came off a bit cliché. That's not the case this time around. The nature metaphors on opener "Dear Colorado" are more vivid and interesting than most of the "I'm drunk and sad" lyrics of its predecessor. "Take Me, Stabler" also shows marked lyrical improvement, with too many great lines to quote, as well as more restrained verses, which allow Tim Browne's vocals to go places they haven't before.

Browne's vocals are more varied and confident all across the board on Hence My Optimism, and he has a knack for melodic vocal hooks that don't necessarily follow where the music is going. He still recalls the Lawrence Arms' Chris McCaughan at points, but his performance on standout "25 Years" brings to mind a youthful Elvis Costello.

If you were a fan of the band before, Hence My Optimism won't change your mind. At a lean 11 minutes, the EP leaves you wanting more and looking forward to their next full-length. Elway haven't reinvented themselves on Hence My Optimism, but they've taken some pretty substantial steps forward. If they keep it up, their next full-length may very well be one of the best punk rock records of 2012.