Light Years are a pop punk group from Kent, Ohio. They play fast, short songs about self-doubt, not wanting to fade away, and girls (or rather, a lack thereof). Like many modern pop punk bands these days, they take heavy influence from blink-182, The Get Up Kids, and Lifetime. Unlike many modern pop punk bands, Light Years doesn’t have a gimmick, like dropping breakdowns left and right or coming up with a slogan that’s barely applicable to their music. In many ways, it creates an air of sincerity around their music that not every band can claim that they have.
The band’s newest EP, “Just Between Us”, takes a couple of steps up from 2011’s “This Will Come Back to Haunt Me.” The band’s vocals have improved, sounding more comfortable and at home than before. They still take a dual approach similar to Man Overboard, but rougher sounding and less nasally. The production is better than the previous EP, giving the songs a clearer and crisper sound, allowing for a more enjoyable listening experience. Musically the band sounds stronger than most others in the scene, opting for an early Saves the Day route rather than the exceptionally poppy sounds that so many like to imitate. Light Years is still very melodic and bouncy- but whereas some blur the lines between pop and punk, Light Years is undeniably a pop punk group.
In general, pop punk is a genre that limits itself in terms of lyrical exploration. Sometimes bands will write songs that defy the genre’s limits, but most of the time they stick to three chord songs (occasionally four) about girls or being a loser that can’t get girls. However just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean that it can’t still sound good or be fun to sing along with. That’s where Light Years shines, writing songs with catchy lyrics that it’s possible to be singing along with the chorus during the first listen. While the lyrics could be a little more self aware of what they’re saying (especially in Liar…“I’m a liar/I twist my words because the truth hurts/I’m growing tired/of always chasing after you”. It’s almost as if they don’t realize she’s probably running away because of all the lying), at the same time they feel as if they were primarily written to be shouted along in large groups of people, which means these songs beg to be heard live.
Lyrical missteps aside, Just Between Us shows just how much Light Years has progressed in the short time in between their first and second releases. While it’s far from being perfect, Just Between Us is a sign that Light Years only has room for improvement. If they continue this growth streak between releases, it won’t be long before Light Years releases their own equivalent to the Upsides.