For those readers who are unfamiliar with them, With the Punches is a pop punk band from Newburgh, NY. Their style falls in line with the modern pop punk that’s so popular with the kids these days- there’s a definite hardcore influence on their music, but there are also layers upon layers of melodies and a keen sense of pop music driving their songs. After four years of playing shows together, the band has just released their debut LP, “Seams & Stitches”, on Doghouse Records.
“Seams & Stitches” plays it relatively safe. Twelve songs about girls, heartbreak, wanting to ‘get out of this place’, and betrayal. The music is also fairly standard: lots of fast chugging, steady beats, and guitar leads that appear to be present at all times. In many ways, “Seams & Stitches” sounds a lot like New Found Glory’s self titled and Valencia’s “This Could Be a Possibility” had a child. I don’t mean that in a bad way- it’s just a way of saying that a lot of what is on this album has been heard before.
Still, “Seams & Stitches” has its moments, even if it’s been done before. The true highlight is probably the intensity of lead singer Jesse Vadala’s vocals. At times he sounds a little similar to Valencia’s Shane Henderson, but there’s an aggressiveness in Vadala’s voice that is definitely a integral part of With the Punches’ sound. It’s that harshness that sometimes enters his voice that really sells the bitter attitude in tracks like “Postcards” and “Face Value” (which happen to be two of the strongest tracks present on the album).
In the realm of pop punk, whether it’s been done before or not should be irrelevant- there are only so many ways to experiment with the sound before you’re playing a different genre. With the Punches don’t try to be anything that they’re not- and it works out well for them. The band may not be reinventing the wheel on “Seams & Stitches”, but why would they want to reinvent something that works perfectly fine?