Sex Before Marriage - You'll Always Remember Your First Time (Cover Artwork)

Sex Before Marriage

You'll Always Remember Your First Time (2010)

Lt. Roosa Cobretti

I'm not sure exactly what is considered "emo" these days, but the name has certainly wandered far from its humble yet glorious origins. Emo was once the tag for the intelligent, heartfelt music that emerged after the first wave of American hardcore bands dissolved. Now it represents a fleeting adolescent fashion fad.

To call Indianapolis quartet Sex Before Marriage an emo band is a risky move. They don't look like Edward Scissorhands, they don't wear makeup and I'm pretty sure all of their haircuts cost less than $20. When I say "emo" to describe SBM, I am pulling the 1995 definition of the word.

With their debut EP, You'll Always Remember Your First Time, the band harkens back to a time when indie rock and emo weren't so marketable. The opening track, "Our Little Secret" is an energetic burst of undistorted guitars and bouncy drums. Comparisons to bands like Braid and even Mineral are easily audible but the band is more that just a four-piece throwback to the obscure days of '90s emo.

There is a certain energy to SMB's sound (especially in their live performance) that lifts them above the sad-sack jams of the musical forefathers. The soft-hard dichotomy of bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral is replaced with more of a pop flow that is refreshingly unique for the genre. This energy is captured best on the tracks "Five People" (which is on the verge of being a punk song) and "Telephone, Telephone."

The crown jewel of the six-song EP is the rousing "Real Water, Fake Flowers." It starts of at full-speed, has a breakdown in the middle that would make Mineral proud, then rips back into action with lead singer Pat Simms' forceful wail.

The Indianapolis punk scene doesn't have a lot of bands to rally behind, but SBM is definitely one worth getting into.