Album Review: Mixtapes - 'Ordinary Silence'

16 June 2013 | 8:53 pm | Staff Writer

Sophomore full length from Ohio pop punk quintet

With the sheer size of the pop punk scene at the moment, it's quite easy, and frankly very common for anyone trying to make it to simply drown in a sea of monotony, unless you're able to do something to set yourself apart from the rest of the crop. Enter Mixtapes, the Ohio indie/pop punk quartet with newly released album, 'Ordinary Silence.'

Kicking things off with 'Bad Parts,' the band go into a fairly stock standard sound. While they don't bring anything particularly new to the table, what they do, they pull off very well, showing a strong understanding of their genre, and the capabilities to pull it off. They cycle through a small range of different sounds, such as the palm-muted chord progression driven 'C.C.S,' The shuffle timing of 'Everything's Eventual,' or the 'token slow song' that seems to be a staple of the pop punk scene, in 'You Look Like Springtime.' In the midst of all of this, the band never really break new ground, But, at the same time, you get the impression that's not really the point.

The band's approach to the lyrical aspect of their songwriting is probably the strongest point they have. Mixtapes have a very strong sense of openness and honesty in their lyrics, and that's what will resonate mostly with the listener - it's what sets them apart from so many other bands. Whether they're singing about oversized egos ('Like Glass'), taking a look at your own faults rather than those of others ('Elevator Days'), learning to be content with what you have ('Happy & Poor'), or watching the people around you change ('A List of Things That I Can't Handle'), they take it on wearing their heart on their sleeves, pulling out genuine lyrics from genuine life experiences such as, “You’re out of touch with everyone and anyone, and your attitude makes me sick” and “I’m really working on me, I know it’s hard to accept, I know it’s hard to forgive.”

Just because the band doesn't bring out anything particularly revolutionary or groundbreaking, doesn't mean there isn't anything here for us musically. The male and female vocals from Ryan and Maura bring a strong contrast into every song on the album, and their raw vocal styles bring a really cool DIY, rough around the edges feel to the album. We also see some fantastic bass work from Michael, particularly in songs such as 'Ross (dirty water), 'Happy & Poor,' and 'Everything's Eventual.'

'Ordinary Silence' is a great release. No, there isn't really any new ground broken, and no, it's not gonna be praised for any enormous level of technical skill, but all of that is more than made up for with a strong, genuine punk rock sense of honesty.

1. Bad Parts
2. Ross (dirty water)
3. Elevator Days
4. C.C.S.
5. Like Glass
6. gravel (interlude)
7. Happy and Poor
8. I Think I Broke it
9. You Look Like Springtime
10. Cheapness
11. Everything's Eventual
12. A List of Things I Can't Handle
13. Swirling
14. Be The Speak That You Change About

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