Pop-punk is a segment of rock that was previously overflowing with more Jimmy Eats Worlds and Blink 182s than radio DJs could shake a stick at. They were everywhere and most of them felt like they fell out of the same exact cookie cutter. What's hard to believe is that since then rock’s prominence has slid even further, making the pop-rock glory days of the early 2000’s actually look half appealing. Sure it was overkilled on the airwaves, but pop-punk undoubtedly still has its place. In fact, the road restoring the rock world to its former self just might lead right back through that territory.
This is something I failed to realize until I listened to Up In Arms’ “Glory Days” EP. Is it shockingly different musically from the pop-punk I’ve heard in the past? No, far from it; but good pop-punk music like Up In Arms is writing might just be the perfect gateway drug to start winning back more fans to the rock genre. The songs sound and feel familiar, they’re catchy and to say the least, damn good.
Paul Bill, Jared McDonald, Brendan Antonacci, and Gino Serra set out with a mission to spark the Central IL rock scene back to life. Their new lively six song EP might be on track to do just that. Through their crashing cymbals, relatable lyrics, and quick guitar riffs, this is an easy EP to settle into.
With the exception of one track, ”Glory Days” is loaded with fast paced beats and riffs. Expectedly for pop-punk, the songs are very guitar driven; which just happens to be a major strong point for Up In Arms. Lead guitarist Jared McDonald’s riffs throughout the EP are clean and full of personality. He rolls out short solos on “Girl You Got Me” and “The Best is Yet to Come” that are perfectly built into the songs and add just the right amount of flair. A quick tempo from drummer Gino Serra along with Brendan Antonacci’s heavy bassline keep tracks like “Battle Scars” and “This One’s For You” at a feverish pace. Up In Arms only applies the brakes for “God Save the Glory Days”, an acoustic medley that puts the spotlight on the clean vocals of lead singer Paul Bill who is in good company with some great background harmonies by the rest of Up In Arms.
Up In Arms works all six songs into a twenty minute span that flows so smoothly that the EP feels like it’s over just after you push play. This perceived brevity is probably the only downside to the EP, the songs are simply flying along for most of it. It leaves you wanting more, which is exactly the kind of rock music the world needs.