Tuesday, 13 August 2013

#150: A Few Too Many - Escape to LA (single review)

Pop-punk is a genre that has been maligned as much as it has been celebrated; even the most stringent of fans can come to blows over what can and can't be considered as such. Like most contested genres though, the idea of what is and isn't pop-punk, is purely subjective and thus it falls at the feet of any given listeners personal musical background to define what they consider to be an apt depiction of the genre. One band, however, who shouldn't have too much trouble in this area, is Essex-based A Few Too Many whose energetic and explosive blend of Anglo innocence and American self-deprecation is completely and unequivocally pop-punk.

2012 saw the band release their d├ębut EP Saint, Sinner, Winner, a record that was met with generally favourable reviews and was quickly followed up by a music video for the EP's eponymous title track. Now, almost a year after their EP release, A Few Too Many are back with their new single 'Escape to LA', a sun-bleached and upbeat affair that yearns for the Californian streets of it's namesake.

At three-and-a-half minutes long, 'Escape to LA' falls perfectly in to generic pop-punk territory and fans of bands such as New Found Glory or Simple Plan will positively reel with excitement as the first chords and cymbal crashes burst forth from one's speakers, whilst those who prefer their pop-punk with a little more snot and sneer will probably opt to dust off their Descendants or Ergs records than delve further. That shouldn't deter any interest one may have though; scratch away at the charm and the innocence, and what you'll find is a quintet of musicians who are harbouring barrels of potential. And while there are the occasional cracks in the band's youthful veneer, it's this potential, along with their energy, that plugs those cracks and keeps the good ship Many afloat. Further to this, whilst many of the UK's up-and-coming pop-punk acts are opting to move more towards the genres heavier elements (and we can thank You Me At Six for that), A Few Too Many are embracing the genre as it was fifteen years ago, and while it won't give you the same sense of frisson that hearing the opening chords of Green Day's Dookie or Blink-182's Dude Ranch did, there is absolutely every chance that AFTM will go on to put out a record that holds the same cultural impact as the aforementioned, albeit for generations yet to come.

Pop-punk is a genre that will always pull at my heart-strings and beg me to dust of my Converse and start up a circle pit, and I'm sure it's the same for thousands of others. The genre might not be basking in the limelight like it once did, but it will always have a place in the hearts of aficionados. This, coupled with the fact that the UK is still producing bands that want to make this kind of music, should assure both the band, and pop-punk naysayers alike, that the future of pop-punk, and the futures all those helping build it, AFTM included, are looking very rosy indeed.