Undesirable People - Former Self Current State (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Undesirable People

Former Self Current State (2013)

South Division

Undesirable People came pretty good with Eugenics last year. It proved one of the more solid EPs that showed the potential that this Michigan squad had. As a band now building themselves on a more rhythmic and melodic tone, the atmosphere of Former Self​/​/​Current State shows the growth of the band and how much they've spread their wings and assimilates well as an anthem of 'never settle for the norm.' That's the main theme on offer and while there are a couple minor kinks to work out here and there, Undesirable People manage to show up once more.

"Alive In Your Grave" intersperses melodic, catchy hooks into the band's indie–punk sound which made last year's album so smooth. The twinkly interludes balance out the grittier intro but allow breaks for the soothing, pop–punkish vocals of Steven Kennedy to run on. His guitarwork shines alongside Brian Fraser's and eliminates the bouts of frailty they showed in their earlier days. They churn out a much calmer and alternative effort in "Current State" which someone mentioned as Four Year Strong meets Small Brown Bike. Well, if that means it sounds like a wannabe Jimmy Eat World soft–tune, then yes. It has a warm, ballad–esque tone to it and sits well to relax the atmosphere and pace.

Heavy alternative is the route taken come "Give & Take" which plays off as more personal and close to the chest. Kennedy's vocals stretch and enunciate here a bit more than on the rest of the record amid crunching riffs, nifty solos and some slightly grungy tones. It no doubt unfolds as the track they wanted to let some steam out on. There are some snippets brought out here that reference the acerbity in society as they view it and that kind of spice adds a nice cushion of flair. Undesirable People aren't known for bravado but it's nice to blow off steam a bit musically and the end–product sounds so good.

The production of the four tracks is solid and the arrangement plays off like a neat short–novel. "Pathway" as a closer allows the strength of Mark Lebiecki's bass to protrude. It's distinct and heavy as fuck – compounded even more by his backup vocals to Kennedy which absorb so well. It's similar to the track above but has more than enough melody to distinguish itself. Heavier and alternative – and you have a winner as the record winds down. Jon Lebiecki's drums are as tight and well–timed as can be to add even more to their base. Overall, it's not that big a step up evolution–wise from 2012 but it's still a great place to be in. If they continue in this vein, Undesirable People have only one way to go and that's up. The variations in their musical style has a certain charm to it and they don't follow a set formula. That's a recipe to win.