Pop-punk isn’t dead, it’s thriving. The numerous amounts of new bands popping up that pledge their allegiance to the label of pop-punk is ever-growing, albeit slightly repetitively, but prosperous and fruitfully none-the-less.
Another band certain to be on the ‘upcoming’ radar of many is St. Albert’s five-piece, Calling All Captains, who join some of the scene’s frontrunners as another fine addition that hails from the mighty fine land of Canada.
The band’s third EP, ‘Nothing Grows Here’, the first on new label Equal Vision Records, is one that sees them flex their muscles, reaching for a powerful hardcore-meets-pop-punk sound that seems almost synonymous with a fair few modern day pop-punk groups. While that does mean that it’s not the freshest of sounds, it by no means doesn’t mean that it can’t totally rip because spoiler: this release does.
Kicking things off with jumpy ‘Chasing Ghosts’, it’s a track that’s simply born to open a record; fast-paced, bursting vocals, and one meaty slab of a chorus, it ticks all the boxes to be a fan favourite on their discography. The message is loud and clear here: waste no time in getting shit done, and do it yourself if you have to, as frontman Luc Gauthier blares “If you want better then go get it. / Don’t settle and let it all go to shit.”
Calling All Captains play it close to the line between hardcore and pop-punk, as both the title-track and closing number ‘Out Of My Head’ prove, blending relentless yet melodic instrumentals with Gauthier‘s snarling vocals and occasional but guttural screams.
The latter in particular sees screams come right to the forefront, as the frontman closes the EP in true A Day To Remember-like post-hardcore fashion. It’s also clear to hear other influences in the band’s sound, like on ‘Disconnected’, with Gauthier‘s gritty vocals grinding across pounding double-time drums feeling reminiscent of Knuckle Puck‘s ability to produce driving and intensely robust rhythms.
Alright, so nothing on ‘Nothing Grows Here’ is massively new, but for what it’s worth, this is a very solid and enjoyable pop-punk release – that’s not always an easy thing to find. It’s angsty, hook-friendly, leaning to the heavier side of the genre, and certainly, on this showing, portrays Calling All Captains in very good form.