Pentimento - Inside The Sea [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Inside The Sea [EP] (2013)

Paper and Plastick

Pentimento's self-titled full-length last year was filled with drowning messages, and was one of the most brilliantly assembled pop-punk records I'd heard in a while. It was executed so well and arranged remarkably to play off the pop-punk traits of lead vocalist Jeremiah Pauly. How were they gonna top what I thought was their best output to date? Well, Inside The Sea answers just that. It's Pentimento cutting loose and eroding that poppier essence that fans have held on to and what they harness now, not only feels more organic, but more blistering by their standards. To sum it up, Pentimento have taken off the gloves, lost the safety net and are braving the waters of indie-punk in ways unassociated to them before.

Navigating these previously uncharted waters allows Pauly free reign to take that extra step as a lyricist and vocalist. "Not So Young" starts off timidly with Michael Hansen's percussion setting a somber tone. The band tighten and tighten until they beat together to forge a rougher and grainier sound that Pauly expounds upon. His unpolished sound still has that feeling of resolve in it. To say they discarded the poppier aspect of themselves is an understatement. Lance Claypool and Pauly both lace the record with much more distorted guitars than usual to shape and signal the shift, and when Vincent Caito adds his standout bass work, everything comes full circle.

This variation doesn't feel forced. Pentimento make it natural as possible, while still dancing around their dramatics and advances from their typical pop-punk sound. They weren't stymied by the latter but breaking new barriers was something they needed to do to separate themselves in a crowded genre.

The Brand New-esque "Just Friends" adds another dimension, expressing Pentimento's growth and experimentation, as well as the gravity of the Buffalo quartet's ambition. Building this around Caito once more really proves one of their smartest moves, and speedy drums build Pauly's emotional diatribe on heartache and cutting one's losses in order to walk away. The agony is stressed on in every word from Pauly, as he elongates syllables much like Jesse Lacey once did. You can tell in the unified chorus at the end how badly the band wanted to kick out this message.

"Any Minute Now..." once more spins off the emo-melodic side, as Pauly stretches himself thin and tests his boundaries. Technically, Inside the Sea is not his "best-sounding" vocal work, but it's the one I have most respect for him as he pushes himself to new limits. In this case, as he wrenches on calculations in life and apologies, it's much more appreciable with the extra grit of their sound. They get their hands dirty a bit more as they steady their ship on this Brand New-esque motif once again on "It's Okay," which once more allows Caito to shine. The mixed vocals are more present than ever and it's also a nice homage to Jimmy Eat World with lyrics of letting go, losses in life and overall anger.

As Inside the Sea closes, the underlying theme becomes apparent. It's them self-medicating. It's their therapy. Pentimento's evolution is evident on this record. Is this their definitive sound? Who knows? But I can't wait to see where they go from here.