Portland-based punk band Newbury released their EP, “Growing Pains” late last year.
A long time ago, I was a middle schooler who had just discovered Green Day and slept with their “American Idiot” CD every night. About ten years later, I’m sleeping with someone else’s CD. Meet Newbury, a pop punk trio (kinda like Green Day) who is creeping into our hearts with their snarky rock music.
The band’s debut record makes a fine first impression; pristine production, rad lyrics, and 3 kick-
butt musicians make this EP a hot item. The band’s shining moment happens in track 2, “Mad Hatter,” a song based on the characters in Lewis Carroll’s beloved book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (or the Disney movie if you aren’t a reader). The song isn’t great simply because it mentions the best Disney character in the history of ever, but because the trio have totally
made Alice in Wonderland more punk rock than any Tumblr-ish punk edit ever could. The vocals, particularly in the chorus, are mad dope and the guitar melodies and bass line have a quirky catchiness that make the tune pretty memorable.
Newbury has a couple expected themes in the EP. “Paradise” talks about escaping their hometown alone, something we hear in pretty much any pop punk album. But Newbury maintains some originality with a cute, island-inspired, ukulele-ish intro that dissolves into a fiery guitar wail. The drums are pounded in angst, just as passionately as the lyrics are sung. Title track, “Growing Pains” also broaches a familiar subject: growing up. The lyrics are impressively written; the guys drop some knowledge, using metaphors and what-not:
I have nightmares that drag on from 9 to 5
Dressed to impress there’s no way I’d survive
Cashed in all my dreams to live safe and sound
Prepared myself for a boring life
The EP concludes all too soon with “Seeker,” a sweet (lol not really) love song. It took a couple listens before I appreciated it. But once I started liking it, it grew on me like a fungus. And come on, how adorbs would it be if a guy told you “You’re worth all the $h!t that I could ever go through/ Cause in the end I know that I’m still gonna have you”?
I think we need to keep an eye out for Newbury. They don’t seem like major sellouts who would write twerking music in exchange for Grammy awards, but they do have enough bomb talent to be cult favorites of rock lovers everywhere. 10 out of 10 would bang (their heads along to the sounds of this album).
RIYL: Blink-182, Green Day, and NOFX