Pennsylvania pop-punk outfit Drop The Act recently sent me their latest EP to review and I was so excited to sink my teeth into it. Prizing high energy over everything, they’re a band who offer their bands something more than classic pop-punk. Harnessing both the light and the dark of human life, their music touches on real emotions and issues that their young audience relates to. Formed in 2012, the five-piece have since been bringing joy at their live shows and through their vlogs where they update their fans on recent shenanigans and gig dates.
When The Going Gets Tough is an EP that is undeniably pop-punk but it doesn’t include the typical content that the genre deals with. Drop The Act are not New Found Glory or Blink 182 impersonators. Singer Matt Priscilla has a very unique voice that translates so well and he brings the beautiful innocence to the sound. It begins with Hometown Zero with rhythmic drums and Matt’s melodic vocals. He isn’t whining like so many pop-punk frontmen do but relating the lyrics in a soulful manner. The melody is catchy and upbeat with the occasional passionate backing chants interjecting. It’s a positive song that really uplifts the listener.
I’m Not A Gentleman, I’m A Sellout begins with a falling mechanical guitar and strong drums. Matt’s voice gives us the pretty sing-a-long melody on top of the loud drums. It’s youthful and energetic despite being about the breakdown of a relationship. The catchy hook of “cry on, cry on for me” really resonates with you and drives the song as it drifts into the midpoint of the EP.
Tattoos, Gauges and Ripped Jeans is introduced with staccato guitar growls and steady drums. The focus is very much on the vocals and the story they’re telling. A tale of recklessness and being unfaithful to someone just because you’re in the mood is tapping into something that a lot of young, hormone-ridden teens understand, so it really indicates the audience they’re targeting. A tricksy instrumental is the backbone of the music with rumbling riffs and running drum. There are pretty metallic riffs interspersed with it too to give it some light and shade.
My favourite track is Stay Close. It’s very much an up-to-date pop song and the delivery and melody could just as easily be a boyband song. The sentiment behind it is beautiful and it’s clearly a story of true love. The bouncing dark guitar backs a verse about reckless behaviour whilst young but the lyrics then evolve into a wonderful love song that really warms the heart. If you love a bit of gooeyness, I highly recommend giving Stay Close a listen.
In a similar vein is Sunsets And Silhouettes, which is introduced by soft guitar ripples. Matt’s melancholy vocals gently breathe the words of this pretty ballad that has so much emotion poured into it. During the second half, it kicks up a notch when the drums enter and it takes on a catchy melody whilst retaining the feeling. Towards the end is a whining guitar solo which performs tricks as it blasts through the ending of the track which leaves you with a resonating chorus.
Ending on Would You Like To Eat My Candy Paw, it finishes on a fierce note. Grinding metal guitars drive through the beginning and the pop-punk vocals tell tales of breaks from reality and the journey of self-discovery. Halfway through comes electronic bounces from a guitar which are a bit of a curveball to the rest of the EP. Up until now, they’ve come across as a traditional pop-punk band and this is the only glimpse at something else to their sound. Matt’s voice retains its innocent tone and together with the darkness instilled in the instruments, we’re reminded that this beautiful voice is masking a lot of dark thoughts and feelings.
Drop The Act are a pop-punk band who are slightly leaning towards the side of pop. They don’t have that typical nasal vocal or tinny riffs. They swap this for a voice with soul and a darker twist on their guitars. If you love the sound of a slightly more grown-up pop-punk band with the energy and subject matter of teens, Drop The Act are definitely the ones to check out.