No Wonder We Prefer the Dark
Paper + Plastick Records
You haven't let go of the '90s. You still sing the praises of Jawbreaker and Screeching Weasel, and your bedroom floor is dirty with xeroxed flyers for $5 shows with no less than 5 bands on the bill. Your car smells of PBR and cheap cigarettes, and the backseat is hidden beneath fast food wrappers and packs of guitar strings.
Got 10 minutes? The Ex Friends' debut EP No Wonder We Prefer the Dark is about to soundtrack your next drive to band practice.
The Philly punk band has got a scruffy male vocalist (Plow United's Joel Tannenbaum), offset by the sweet, heartbreaker backup vox of Audrey Crash, and they play Lookout!-style pop punk that's melodic enough to get your dance on, but just bawdy enough to thrash to. None of the 4 songs offered (plus one bonus, digital only) break the 3 minute mark, or have a 5th chord, but when did keeping it simple hurt a pop punk record?
"The Legend of the Holy Drinker" is a charged-up opener that's all chorus and very little verse. "Ex Friends" is a cheeky fuck-off to friends who have a falling out. "So Many Kisses" recalls the poppier side of the Pixies and would be a hit on punk rock radio, in a perfect world. If the previous songs are afternoon skates around the boardwalk, than "Waimanalo Confidential" is a plunge into the backyard bowl. It's got a killer surf rock riff, the gruffiest vocals, and the most rockabilly swing.
The bonus track "Archaeologists of the Future" has a more thought-out melody, the guitars are slower and more methodical, and the lyrics feel more personal. It's a turning point song, when a band becomes a Band and not just a group of friends playing together in a garage.
The EP may be blink-and-you'll-miss-it short, but sometimes 5 songs, and 10 minutes, is all you need to introduce yourselves to the world.