Studying is a 7 piece band that plays emotional and aggressive punk. “Songs About Leaving Home” is the bands second release; their first EP.
The album begins with one of the most memorable opening tracks I’ve heard in some time. The first track starts out with the vocalist singing the lyrics “Touching warm dog shit through the holes of a plastic bag”. It makes for one of the most interesting and uncomfortable openers I’ve ever heard, not in the same sense that it is offensive or anything like that but more so in a way that I don’t know whether to laugh or just go with it. It is just so out of place for the style of music they play, which initially left me to wonder whether this band was serious about what they do. Theres no point in dwelling on one thing for too long so with that aside everything else is pretty much obligatory. The musicianship is made up of the twinkly sounding post-rock-esque guitars, triumphant drumming, and those emotional vocals one would come to expect from a band playing this style of music.
The second song, “Call to No One” is a short track featuring a sample from the film “Brief Interviews with Hideous men”; it sets the mood for the rest of the album and works as an interlude that seamlessly leads into “Winter Kept Us warm”. The beginning of the song starts with some guitar chords shortly leading into some really fantastic clean vocals. As I said in my review of the Deer Leap + The World is a Beautiful Place split, I have an affinity for those breathy emotionless vocals. As the track progresses the vocals take on a more raw form, with both vocalists passionately screaming slightly out of time with each other. The unclean vocals are fantastic, they’re sincere and messy; absent of any kind of cheesy effect one might foolishly add. The song comes to it’s peak at it’s most climactic moment when both vocalists begin to sing and with a very brief and subtle pause (more of a let up in the playing) they passionately scream “the world is so big and I’m so small”. The content of that particular line is in no way profound or original but it is subtle moments like these that make a song for me; whether it was on purpose or not these small details are one of the things that I really appreciate in a band and in musicianship.
“Up the Corporate Ladder” is a more melancholic jam than the previous three songs; the most brooding on the record. This sustained sound can be heard in the background while a thick and prominent bass line carries the track. Further into the song the band lets loose and things get chaotic. The vocalists sound like they are battling to be heard over the eclectic clashing of the guitars , bass and drums. Some may complain that this is evidence of an unrefined band but in punk and really all forms of music its just another element, a stylistic decision that playing it safe cannot accomplish. A really great ending to this EP.
Three of the four songs on this EP are featured on their demo, however, this album makes a large improvement in terms of production when compared to their previous efforts, especially for a self recorded album. Although I was left feeling like something was missing, there have been a lot of bands that have explored this sound before so there isn’t much of anything new here. With that said these guys know when to get aggressive and when to let up and just make good use of atmosphere. I didn’t notice it until I had finished listening to the EP but there is very little distortion or gain on the guitars, at least not that I could hear which says a lot in terms of how much energy these guys can put out and how loud they can be without the use of distortion while still sounding legitimate. In short I was under the impression that this album would not be able to hold my interest but although this EP started out rather awkwardly for me, it holds its ground and proves to be a rewarding listen. Check it out.
Overall Rating: 8.0
Favoroite Track: Winter Kept Us Warm