Being a fan of pop punk these days is hard. Your genre of choice is literally that geek with the Chuck Taylors and a tendency for being excluded from the other high school cliques. Now factor in that the genre has been overrun by New Found Glory and The Movielife wannabes, as well as the fact that the world has all but forgotten about Lookout Records, and you’re not left with much- just a sea of brightly colored hoodies and bad tattoos all calling for the defense of a genre that’s now a shallow reflection of what it once was.
That’s where I Call Fives, and their newest EP, “Someone That’s Not You,” come in. With a unique style that can only be described as “been done before” and “No really, I swear this has been done before” I Call Fives is one of the newest quintets on the scene to have been raised on albums such as “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and “Can’t Slow Down.” Not that there is anything inherently wrong with this, because sometimes it works out really well. The problem is that I Call Fives, like many modern pop punk bands, focus far too much on the pop, and not enough on the punk, and they lack any kind of defining characteristic to make them stick out above the rest- unless you count their kind of ridiculous name.
In short, this band gets compared to the likes of early All Time Low (people like to stress the “early” part as if there’s a huge difference), and that comparison isn’t too far off. Each track follows the same formula: a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure? Check. Lyrics, which describe the betrayal of a nameless girl that made the unforgivable mistake of no longer being romantically interested in the protagonist? Sure. Fancy leads sprinkled around while the drums are just there and the bass might as well have been left out of the mix? Of course. An acoustic song that eliminates the bass but still otherwise follows all the other rules? You betcha!
Scoring an average of about 8 on the Pundik-nasality scale, “Someone That’s Not You” meets all of the modern pop punk standards with ease. I Call Fives even fills their 90’s nostalgia quota on the final track, a cover of Third Eye Blind’s “How’s It Going to Be?”. It’s an inoffensive cover, it gets beefed up a little, and played slightly faster, although overall it’s not too far off from the original. It would have been more interesting to hear if they did more to turn it into their own song.
Don’t be mistaken- I Call Fives is good at what they do. They are able to write a really catchy hook with relatable lyrics that are sure to resonate with tons of young teenagers. There’s nothing wrong with any of that- teen angst will always have an innate fan base somewhere out there – although somewhere down the line the band will need to develop a personality other than ‘sounding like old All Time Low’ if they ever want to distinguish themselves. Someone That’s Not You is sure to please those who were too young to remember, or those who get nostalgic about the heyday of Drive-Thru Records, but everyone else looking for a sugary pop punk fix will feel underwhelmed.