Treason This - Always Perfect [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Treason This

Always Perfect [EP] (2015)


Pop-punk is a delicate thing. It’s a winning formula with massive appeal when it’s done right. But when a band takes the prescribed genre route, their work ends up sounding generic and uninspired, probably more so than in any other genre. And when a pop-punk band heads the other way -- towards the unusual or experimental -- it tends to have mixed results and often loses most of the appeal that comes with the genre. I’ve always respected those that take the latter approach: bands like Fireworks or The Front Bottoms are by no means bizarre or even experimental, but they both infuse a heavy helping of unique vision and maturity that separates them from the rest of the pop-punk horde. At their best, Milwaukee, WI’s Treason This are able to find the very elusive "distinctive pop-punk voice." It’s not on every track of their new EP, but the band shows a certain promise and might have what it takes to rise above the countless pop-punk clones.

Treason This, originally an acoustic duo, debuts as a full band on their Always Perfect EP. The release is anchored by its first single, “Moviegoers Dilemma,” which is something of a mislead. It’s a strong standard pop-punk tune with great melody, but does little to showcase the group’s capabilities as a distinctive voice. “I Hate You Please Die” and “A Disgrace to the Dead” are better tracks that are reminiscent of the underappreciated mid-2000s act Rory: catchy and melodic pop-punk with a weird backbone and dramatic edge.

Singer and primary songwriter Michael Inge is the band’s clear strength. He does the standard high-register pop-punk croon, but it fits, and his strong vocals add an extra dose of pop to the band’s sound. His voice is something like a more relaxed (or less ridiculously theatrical) Nate Reuss. Although the lyrical content is standard melodramatic pop fare (relationships, tragedy) and the song titles can be a bit hackneyed, his lyrics have the advantage of being meticulous, witty and wordy. His healthy dose of dictionary helps the band not get too weighed down in the clichéd.

A major issue with the EP is that the band doesn’t entirely separate itself from its acoustic origins. Almost half the EP is either acoustic-vocal interlude or full-fledged acoustic numbers. The songs are well done, but they lose some of the momentum gained by the full band tracks. I’d be willing to guess these softer parts are growing pains and they’ll probably show up less and less as the band finds its voice. As they grow, it’ll be interesting to see where they take their sound--- hopefully it will be towards the unique sound they’ve created on a few of this EP's tracks. Either way, if you’re a fan of uber-pop punk, Always Perfect is worth a listen.