On the surface, Light Years comes off as just another derivative pop punk act, with simple chord progressions and easy-to-shout choruses. However, despite their seemingly ready-for-Warped appearance (and much like their former tourmates Mixtapes), there’s more to meets the eye when it comes to Light Years. At least the people over at both Paper + Plastick and Animal Style Records think so, with the former handled the band’s 2013 debut LP and the latter acting as the band’s current home. With their newest EP, Temporary, Light Years are shaping up to be one of the better pop punk acts in the post-blink-182-reunion pop punk scene.
From a strictly structural point of view, the five songs here on Temporary don’t differ much from Light Years’ previous output. It’s been done before, but Light Years, as a band, have never sounded better. These songs are more refined, the band has tightened up their loose ends and no longer sound like the same group of kids trying to find their voice that they were just two years ago. There’s never a moment that’s quite as aggressive as “Uphill Battles” from their 2013 album I Won’t Hold This Against You, but the melodies present continue on the same path and are among the best that they’ve ever written.
Like most bands that fall within any subgenre of punk rock, Light Years show most of their strengths through their lyrics. There are some old clichés in place (“you’re like the winter, the way you make me freeze”, “Late at night, I wish that I was dead”) but the band truly knows what it means to be a part of Generation Y (or, as news outlets insist, “millennials”): “I close my eyes and let my whole life pass me by” is a sentiment that most directionless 20-somethings can relate to, as is learning to cope with the inevitability that “everybody has to change but I never wanted to leave”. There’s a sincerity to their words like that that feel as if Light Years actually mean what they say- not something that can be said about a lot of today’s pop punk.
There are far too many bands that use gimmicks to keep themselves afloat in today’s oversaturated scene. Whether it’s a slogan, the “always happy all the time” lyrical angle, or embracing the god-awful “female-fronted” tag as an actual genre of music, there’s a lot of bull and insincerity out there. Light Years don’t stand for any of that, simply putting out music that they want to, and that only sets them well ahead of their peers. Hopefully “Temporary” is just the title track of this EP, because if the songs are any indication, the band is well on their way to avoiding the sophomore slump that plagues so many.
3.5 / 5
RIYL: Mixtapes, Misser, State Champs