Seemingly embracing the pop infectiousness of Blink 182, the rawer aggressive contagion of Mucky Pup, and the addictive hook invention of Hagfish, US pop punksters Heavyweights provide more than enough with new EP Keep Your Friends Close, to suggest they are a band in the midst of carving out a healthy future for themselves. Consisting of five tracks which easily cast an enjoyable and inventive stomp of infectious hooks and melodies, the release is a captivating proposition which has attention focused and appetite stirred for its not startling but certainly pleasing sounds.
Formed in 2011, the Baltimore quintet of vocalist Dave Heilker, guitarists Eric Navarro and Sean Ryder, bassist Punk Rock Chris, and drummer Kurt Speiss, have brought inspirations from the likes of All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, Man Overboard, New Found Glory, and The Wonder Years into their refreshing sound and enterprise. With debut EP The Sound of Time Running Out and an acoustic split release with fellow Maryland band A Place in Time under their belts, Heavyweights now make another sizeable and compelling statement in their emergence with Keep Your Friends Close.
It opens with the relatively brief It’s Not Pretty, But It’s Us, a track which makes an ok entrance but evolves into an intriguing slice of melodic punk which is at ease either make a slower expressive suasion or launching into an eagerly energetic proposition. It is not a song which ever explodes, though it drop hints at times that it might, and does not excite the ears as potently as subsequent tracks, but it makes a firm and engaging start to the EP. The band displays their imagination and skill within the song, pushing it further with the following Dior 999. The second track bursts from a magnetic bassline with nostrils flaring in its energy as emotive intensity colours the creativity of the guitars and passion of the vocals. Swiftly contagious and gripping, choppy swipes of riffs and persistently twisting hooks embrace the strong vocals of Heilker which in turn are backed by those of Speiss and Navarro, the song alone pushing the release to a new exciting plateau.
Bonfire seizes its opportunity to next entice ears, guitars swiftly moving in to lay a web of sonic bait and melodic endeavour over the imagination whilst vocals parade the track’s narrative. Rhythmically both Speiss and Chris sculpt their most compelling cage of temptation yet on the EP, backing up the rich weave of enterprise from the rest of the band in another highly pleasing song. Heavyweights take little time to show they know how to sculpt catchy and resourcefully smart enticements in their songs, Bunkbeds next proving the point. Also featuring Mike Hayden, the track instantly sparks thoughts of Hagfish with its infectious start, vocals and hooks familiar bait to the Texas band. It is a lingering spice but one soon merged with a Fall Out Boy like drama and powerfully evocative textures which create another vibrant and hunger sparking romp of sound and ideation.
The release closes with Anna Marie, an infectious and melodic stroll of pop rock which flows with fiery and emotive melodies matched by vocals, all amidst punchy hooks and jabbing rhythms. Not quite holding the spark of the previous pair of songs, it still leaves the imagination busy and appetite full whilst adding fuel to already impressed reactions for band and EP.
Keep Your Friends Close does not set pop punk ablaze but certainly suggests that Heavyweights have the potential to leave that kind of mark on the genre ahead whilst providing strong and richly pleasing encounters along the way.
The Keep Your Friends Close EP is available now @ http://hvywts.bandcamp.com/
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