Pass Away - Hey Death (Cover Artwork)

Pass Away

Hey Death (2015)


Pass Away hail from Brooklyn, NY and play a sing-along laden style of punk. The three-piece features a former member of I Am the Avalanche and a current member of Crime in Stereo- Not that those bands or their sounds have all that much influence on Pass Away or their debut record Hey Death. While all members are part of the increasingly tight-knit group of musicians that CIS and IATA share in making music together, Pass Away capture a sound all their own. Hey Death does well in introducing these gents to any enthusiast of anthematic melodic punk offerings.

Hey Death doesn’t necessarily offer anything particularly new sound-wise. By the time I got through “Monster,” the third track, I found myself drawing comparisons to the ever-influential Gainesville scene. Mixed beneath their songs seems to be foundation of Hot Water Music and even Leatherface. Even the lyrics to “Currituck Sound” sound observe the self-deprecating Gainesville ethos: “I'm an engine losing steam. I'm the dirt that can't be cleaned. I’m the anchor dragging you down to the deep dark bottom of the Long Island sound.” And Pass Way do well to maintain some of the melodic sensibilities of those bands. They really had me interested in the lyrics, especially during the choral sing-alongs which add a great dimension to the record as a whole. It becomes increasingly harder not to feel compelled to sing along with these boys as the record plays out. Yet, as the record continued along, I also couldn’t ignore the increasingly similar vocal delivery between vocalist Mike Ireland and Jawbreaker’s Blake Schwarzenbach. Mike delivers his lyrics with a similarly raspy yet melodic shout. I’m not the biggest fan of over-emphasizing comparisons here, so I apologize. But by the end of the record, I couldn’t shake that one. And let’s be honest, it’s a compliment any way you look at it.

The record closes with the band’s strongest musical effort in “Fuck Outta Here.” It’s in this particular song that Pass Away seem to have most singularly found their sound. It harnesses the personal disparagement found in the other songs, with a wonderfully crafted chorus of “I wanna disappear. Wash me away in the pouring rain. Dump me out anywhere I won't complain. Just get me the fuck outta here.” It makes you want to raise up a pint of beer and sing along with your friends. The music is perfectly paced and the background vocal harmonies add a depth to the musicianship that I hope will continue on subsequent releases.

I’m not sure what looms for Pass Away in terms of touring or full-length releases, but Hey Death is a great first offering. They certainly don’t seem to take themselves too seriously and that comes through in their music. It’s fun, it’s infectious, it’s melodic and it’s packed with sing-alongs.