After a decade long hiatus, Montreal’s Twenty2 are back with a new EP Nice Knowin’ Ya. Picking up where they left off, 2006’s Defective, this album is full of emo-tinged pop punk delivered with a familiar angsty sneer and melodic rage.
Nice Knowin’ Ya blasts out of the gates with “Intro(vert)”, a sub-minute explosion of frenzied guitars and intense anger. “I don’t care if you don’t get it, it’s ok if we have to end it here and now, because I have no time and alone I’m just fine” Jon yells with a sense of defiance.
Like the inevitable sense of quiet dread sets in after an explosion, the emotional side of this album kicks in after the first song. Perhaps showcasing that “alone I’m just fine” is not entirely accurate. “Won’t Hate” has distinct change of energy, stepping down the rage and giving it a melancholic feel. “I’ll never be the same without you, I know I’m better off without you, I will turn around and leave you behind” is delivered in a way that is difficult to figure out if he is talking to someone else, or attempting to convince himself. This self doubt is layered over a driving rhythm and soaring vocal melodies.
“Radio Mind” continues the punchy instrumentation and soaring melodies found throughout this album, but also double-downs on the emotional response to “Intro(vert)”. “I haven’t been here long enough, I hate to look back but it’s tough to move on” opens the song “Can’t Hold on, Can’t Let Go” who’s title alone suggests that there is a distinct sense of regret involved in the situation this album is presenting.
There are a couple of stand out tracks featuring guests. The first one being Stephen Egerton from the Descendents on “I’d Rather Die”. This song puts the anger back on display and the guitar work has a more frenzied feel. When Jon’s vocals come back in after the guitar solo there is such anger and resentment, it’s a palpable chill-inducing moment. This song definitely explores the angrily-accepted side of the emotional spectrum on display in this album.
The other guest track features Al Nolan from Canadian punk band Almighty Trigger Happy. The last and titular track “Nice Knowin’ Ya” is the perfect example of a band creating highs and lows in the exploration of emotions. The guitars are aggressive and in your face, the drums explode and make you feel every hit, the bass line driving and complementary, all of which on fire with angst but then drop off so quickly in the breakdown it’s a free fall of energy that ends with a primordial scream. The call and answer vocals, as well as the harmonies are executed perfectly. “Fuck you and everything you want from me. Got no time for anything but my need, I gave you even my own sanity, what’s left is just for me.” screamed on the verge of a breakdown shows that “Alone I’m just fine” was definitely not true.
Nice Knowin’ Ya leaves a little to be desired, I wish there were more songs like the title track and “I’d Rather Die” as some of the other songs start to blur with similarity. However this album shines because of the honest lyrical look at the feelings we all experience after an emotional fallout. The rage-fueled things we say, in a sub-one minute song, versus the depth of the feelings we experience afterwards, in five songs across fourteen minutes.