When thinking about how the new digital age has impacted the music industry, many look straight at the cons: loss in money, labels more careful when signing acts, plummet in sales, rise in illegal file sharing, etc. However, many pros have come from it, such as bands having to up the ante and relying more on solid live performances. Another pro is people being able to create almost studio quality material of their own at home and being able to distribute it to millions online in seconds. This pro has helped to create Sophomore, the solo side-project of Decade frontman, Alex Sears.
In less than a year of its official creation, Alex has now gone onto EP number two, ‘The Blue’, which is easily another step in the right direction following last year’s ‘Teller’. Straying further away from the pop-punk embodiment from his main focus, Decade, he’s now steering more into something that makes Sophomore a character of its own. What we have here is something more like Basement; modernised pop-grunge. Essentially, take a young Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder on their own and catapult them into 2013, and you’ll have Sophomore.
Opener ‘Young Adult’ brings to light this choice in sound right away, slowly creeping into the frame with solemn guitar notes before a full band comes in as Alex sings “Fell into the blue”. It carries the hooks, it carries gruff and just sets the tone for the songs to follow.
Highlight of the release is definitely a title held by ‘House Spider’, placed slap bang in the middle of the EP. Admittedly the more emotional and heart string tugging offering held on ‘The Blue’, it’s this aura of sincerity and the trademark “ooh ooh ooh” pop hook which helps this track stick onto you stronger than a ball of moist chewing gum on your brand new jeans.
Though Sophomore will always take a backseat for Alex whilst him and his bandmates soar the British pop-punk ladder with Decade, it is clearly becoming something a little more serious. ‘The Blue’ displays a strong songwriter who brings to mind a modernised British Kurt Cobain in the making. But, most importantly, it shows testament that as long as you have the passion and the dedication, anyone can go DIY and spread their music online if they put their mind to it.
Written by Zach Redrup