With Honors - A Great Place to Start (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

With Honors

A Great Place to Start (2010)


A Great Place to Start figuring out what not to do with your band, amirite party people? AMIRITE?!?! Anyhow, With Honors seems like a decent group of people with good intentions, but really, they somehow have managed to throw in a lot of the worst aspects of things that people doing pop-punk wrong love to do these days onto a single release: Overtly whiny vocals that reach too much? Check! Highly unnecessary double-bass drumming? Check! Keys that contribute nothing to the overall songwriting of the band? Check! Lyrics that involve someone spilling guts? Check! A Great Place to Start isn't a complete waste of space, though, as there is some decent vocal harmonies to be found here and the occasional catchy melody finds its way up from the drudgery.

I think the crux of the problem with this EP is that it sounds messy--not sloppy and fun, but just messy. A song like "Shipwreck" is a decent Fall Out Boy-ian excursion of lost love, but the hurried drums coupled with the synth backing seem to force the vocals above and beyond acceptable levels of sweetness, making the whole thing a muddy plop in the dark. It's sad, because I could see the drummer coupled with some more challenging punk songs and the singer has some obvious talent that would otherwise suit this style of music greatly.

Like the title suggests, I hope this is just a start, because in that context the album shows some promise. If they ditch the keyboards or find a dynamic way to make them work inside the band's lineup, tighten up the drumming and reel in the vocals, I could see this band getting big with the kids if not writing some good songs here and there. Right now this is some pretty amature stuff and not in some voyeuristic sense of the word either.