Album Review: Broadway Calls + Mixtapes – “Vision Quest”

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Recently Oregon’s Broadway Calls signed to No Sleep Records. Less recently, but still kind of recently in the grand scheme of things, Ohio’s Mixtapes were also signed to No Sleep Records. Two modern pop punk groups on a label that isn’t specifically known as a pop punk label… Why not put out a split EP between them? Enter: Vision Quest– Broadway Calls’ debut for the label, and Mixtapes’ third or fourth for the label depending on whether or not samplers count as definitive releases.

When compared to the previous Broadway Calls release, the Toxic Kids EP, Vision Quest marks more of a “return-to-format” sound. Toxic Kids was a solid collection, but there was a very rough quality to the EP as a whole, and it was uncharacteristic of the band’s firmly established pop punk sound. Both of the band’s contributions on Vision Quest recreate the refined sound of Broadway Calls and Good Views, Bad News – a move that is very welcome here, as it’s the sound that made everyone fall in love with the band in the first place. “You Got Me” is arguably the band’s best song written since “To the Sheets” (subjectively, of course). As far as their half goes, Broadway Calls really brings their A-game to Vision Quest, and easily plants the seeds of anticipation for their upcoming No Sleep Records debut.

Mixtapes, on the other hand, are coming fresh off the high of releasing their first proper studio full length, Even on the Worst Nights. Undoubtedly these songs were recorded during the same studio sessions, as the band made mention of recording several songs that didn’t make the final cut, and it shows. Chunky riffs, light guitar melodies, lyrics of self-doubt, dual vocals, and distorted voices at the end of songs discussing their inability to sing- all classic elements of a Mixtapes song (normally when a band is as young as Mixtapes it would be weird that there’s already a “classic songwriting formula”, but when a band puts out as much music as Mixtapes it’s only appropriate that they would have developed a “classic formula”).

Vision Quest probably isn’t going to turn over any new mega-fans for either band, but it’s definitely not going to turn away anyone who is already either a casual or mega-fan. It’s a solid, albeit it kind of short, collection of songs that is most definitely a welcome addition to both the Broadway Calls and Mixtapes discographies.

RIYL: The Wonder Years, Green Day, The Dopamines

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