Shambles - Move Away [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Move Away [EP] (2013)


Shambles carve out a poppier spin on pop-punk than most bands plying their trades in this niche. However, at the risk of sounding like a carbon copy of the others, Shambles refine what they do into something enjoyable, catchy and slightly adventurous that doesn't wallow in the mire with other bands. They're not light years ahead of anyone but what they do, they do well and Move Away puts this on display.

The band's self-titled EP last year painted a similar portrait, but it felt a bit safe. This album lets things off the hinges a bit and from the get-go, it's full of spunk and melody. Neat little solos off the handle stretch the reach of the anthemic "Pulleys & Promises.". It fits the bill of Shambles to a tee, with broody breakdowns that don't come off too elegant, but also they don't land too flat. Think of the Lawrence Arms and Descendents with a poppier edge, stuffed in solos that reminiscent of older Ataris. "Grow Up Rookie Before You Hurt Yourself" plays off these strengths as well, but with a faster change of pace, which comes off sweetly.

The recurring start-stop patterns on "I Think I Might Be Gray" explore the history of Shambles–nothing too grating apart from simple, non-edgy musicianship built on three chords at best. This flow works as it spells the nuance you're certain to associate with the Boston trio. Rob Spearin's guitars, Jeremy Hertz on bass and Ben Barr's drums all get solid airtime, which match well with their rotating vocals. This is evident on the Ramones-influenced "Forty Second Love Story," which plays off the stigma of rebelling against the system, staying true to the punk notions of 'Why Work For The Man?' when there's poppy anarchy a la Shambles.

Screeching guitars on "Joni Mitchell" close out this five-tracker and it's a step up from their previous work. I'd say they've evolved and I expect them to do so even more by the time they drop more material. There's nothing too drastically badass here and there's nothing wrong with that. Move Away works.