A near-perfect pop-punk release.
One of my more recent musical discoveries is Australian pop-punk act, Yours Truly. After I instantly fell in love with the lead single 'Circles' late last year, I then had some lofty high hopes for their second EP that dropped a few weeks back, titled 'Afterglow'. And the rest of this new EP definitely delivered for me. 'Afterglow' stands tall and proud as one of the best pop-punk releases of 2019.
It all begins with the one-two punch of the incredible lead singles ‘Circles’ and ‘I Can’t Feel’ and while both tracks are very similar to each other (from structure and feel, to how they’re both immensely catchy pop punk tunes), they also have their differences, each standing out on their own. 'Circles' is the more energised one of the pair, with that spirit driven mainly by the beats of drummer Bradley Cronan and chords of guitarists Teddie Winder-Haron and Lachlan Cronin, as well as a seriously impressive vocal performance from singer Mikaila Delgado. Especially during the HUGE chorus, where she shows off the higher register range of an already incredible voice.
The EP's midpoint hits well with 'High Hopes', a track that was released as a single and for good reason before the EP was even fully announced. This is a slightly darker, more alternative-rock-tinged track that’s reminiscent of the band’s past material, which already places it outside the hooky, bubbly norm of this EP's remaining tracks. It nicely shows off another side (and a very interesting one) of the band’s sound, adding a bit more variety to this EP and its overall sound. An additional major highlight of the track in its bonafide huge chorus, one that's just as massive and impressive as the one in ‘Circles,’ mainly when Mikaila repeatedly sings “you could be my hero.”
Second to last is 'Delusional Paradise', a ballad that starts out being pulled along by acoustic guitar before becoming a harder-hitting piece. Honestly, it’s one of the best ballads I’ve heard in 2019 so far, especially from a band within the pop-punk genre; where such songs range all the way from 'tolerable' to 'forgettable'. The chorus melodies are super memorable, sticking with me deeply after just a couple listens, with the vocal delivery in the bridge absolutely blowing me away. Speaking of vocals, this gem also features Between You & Me vocalist, Jake Wilson, and his vocals in the second verse and bridge perfectly compliment that of Mikaila’s voice too.
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Concluding the EP is its title track, 'Afterglow', and similarly to the EP's previous cut, it has a softer, more simplistic start incorporating cleaner guitars before powerful instrumentals punch in later on to bring in more emphasis and energy. This track's catchy chorus is indeed similar to many other refrains on the EP - extremely hooky and impressive in the vocal department. In fact, I’d argue it’s the most impressive tune in that aspect! While initially, this titular track didn’t stand out to me quite as much as its peers, it definitely grew on me heavily with repeated listens. As a whole, I feel that it makes for a satisfying, perfect closer for this EP.
If Yours Truly had potential before now, then they've really shown it off here with 'Afterglow'; a fantastic boost to their career as a rising band. This time around, they’re proving that that potential is indeed real and isn't untapped; it's overflowing here with truly competent and memorable song-writing capabilities and killer, ear-worming vocal hooks shining brightly through these five songs. 'Afterglow' is a superbly confident, fun and damn strong sophomore EP that is easily a contender for one of my favourites of the year so far. I love it, and I hope you do.
'Afterglow' is out now.