Who It is: The Starting Line – Anyways; Downtown Records (2016)
What It Sounds Like: 2002 all grown up
There are two ways to listen to a release like Anyways:
- You can listen to it like a person who’s been following The Starting Line since their formation in 1999, perhaps since their 2003 banger ‘The Best of Me.” Anyways is not a mysterious new musical direction for these pop-punk veterans. If anything, their sound is just a bit more grown up. Matured. It’s interesting for longtime fans to hear later releases from a band like this. There’s a very specific type of honesty that comes with music written after the dust has settled and a band is done blowing up. At its core, Anyways is very well-thought-out pop punk. They’ve seen some shit, they’ve heard some shit, and now they want to share the bliss (or misery, depending on how jaded you are). The clean guitar tones and distorted vocals shed 2016 light on a refined version of 2002 energy. The overall feel is almost reminiscent of Pet Symmetry or (fellow Pennsylvania natives) Title Fight – but on sedatives. It’s relaxed, wiser, controlled.
- You can listen to it like a person who’s never heard this band before. The Starting Line haven’t released anything since 2008, which means they’ve had about eight years to sit on the concepts they are presenting, and the results are perfection. Anyways is the essence of modern pop-punk: concentrated, then bottled and sold. It’s catchy, good for head-bobbing, and well-composed. These songs would probably sound great live, since they were written by people who have literally been at it for a very long time.
Anyways, give it a listen.
You Should Probably Listen To: The title track, “Anyways”
Overall Rating: 7/10