Shallow Cuts - Storm Watch [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Shallow Cuts

Storm Watch [EP] (2014)

No Idea Records

Though they hail from San Diego, California, Shallow Cuts sound like the quintessential Midwestern punk rock band. Perhaps this is because of their pedigree--boasting members of bands such as Dear Landlord, Gateway District, Madison Bloodbath and Dan Padilla, Shallow Cuts stretch across a vast section of the contemporary punk world, geographically as well as sonically, and the end product is a clear sum of the band’s parts. With a sound that melds such bands as Off With Their Heads and Dan Padilla (singer J. Wang’s other, gruffer band), with the clean guitar and melancholy of the Replacements, Storm Watch serves as a solid introduction to Shallow Cuts’ enjoyable, if not entirely unique, sound.

Shallow Cuts deliver straightforward punk rock with poppy tendencies, and its familiar vibe serves as both a positive and a negative. On one hand, the scruffy delivery, mid-tempo pace, and catchy choruses on the four songs that comprise Storm Watch are enjoyable; “The Mission” is an energetic and hooky opener, and “SLC” sounds a bit like if 24 Hour Revenge Therapy-era Blake Schwarzenbach moved to Minneapolis to start a gruff punk band.

But Storm Watch’s strengths also double as its weaknesses. It is difficult to listen to these four songs without thinking of the previous bands the members have been a part of, and reflecting how very similar Shallow Cuts is to each of them. Theirs is a sound that has been prevalent within the punk scene for the past decade, and though the songs themselves are solid, they suffer in terms of originality, and therefore memorability. There is not a whole lot to differentiate this band from many of the whiskey-swilling, bearded Fest bands that came before them.

Not every piece of music must revolutionize the scene, however, especially when it comes to pop punk, and on that note Shallow Cuts deliver the goods for those looking for enjoyable punk rock, while not necessarily seeking out any surprises.