Forever Came Calling / Family Thief - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Forever Came Calling / Family Thief

Split [7-inch] (2013)

Pure Noise Records

Sometimes, it's good to dial back the punk just a little bit. Ingest the soft-spoken acoustics of the world while you're at it. This split offers just that. Forever Came Calling is a band that jumps to mind when I think of pop-punk being done right these days, a la Stickup Kid, Handguns or The Story So Far. Family Thief features Malcolm Williams' acoustic sentiments laid bare from the soul. What this split does, is have both complement each other well, in a noiseless arena for pop-punkers looking to take a breather.

Joe Candelaria's vocals are smooth and clean, sometimes a tad too high-pitched, but hey, that's pop-punk for you. What he does is lead Forever Came Calling's march and fittingly so, with caressing vocals and the most resonating strains of pop-punk that folks like Patrick Stump shoved in your face. 'Endangered Innocent" is soothing and as melodic as it gets -- coming off more like a Taking Back Sunday meets Senses Fail mash-up. Stripped down and poetic as ever, the dual vocals work better than expected. The poppier "Front Porch Sunrise" may not tickle your fancy but an acoustic split like this always plays off as a gamble. The latter's really endearing, catchy and it's the laid-back tempo everyone wanted in making or listening to this four-tracker.

The second half is where Williams, as the lone member of Family Thief, brings forth a more stoic and calm, introspective gaze to the listener. Three-chord acoustics match the soft, slightly breaking voice of Williams on "Jake and Coke" as a tragic story of family and life. It clatters like John Mayer with better songwriting. "Well Dressed Man" addresses the personal inflection of Williams and is a bit more upbeat in its multi-layered vocals. You can tell how much pop-punk reflects into his music off this track, and adding some fast hooks, rapid drums and a badass attitude would make this song something to lash out on your radio. And that's what these four tracks bring to the light on this split. Potential. They explored some here but you know there's much more to scratch when you dive beneath the surface.