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Susan Frances 12/08/07 11:43 PM

Early Next Year - Catch These Words
Early Next Year - Catch These Words
Record Label: None
Release Date: July 3, 2007

There should be a warning label on Early Next Year’s first full length album Catch These Words that reads: “Catchy Pop/Rock Music for Those Forever 19.” Produced by Inkwell’s lead singer Travis Adams, Catch These Words is laden with buoyant dance-rock vibrations and springy power punk confections. The band’s series of tight guitar arpeggios are sonically bombastic and that trembling action races through with an urgent rush reflective of power punk magnates like Cartel, Rory, and Outsmarting Simon. It’s clear that Early Next Year is a relatively new band, because their music has limitations. With the exception of their final track “Something That I Miss,” which is mostly layered by keyboards and vocal melodies, all of their other songs have a power punk glaze.

On the positive side of that, the album is infallibly uplifting, but on the other hand, the album is so focused on one side of the band that I wonder if there is anything more to them. It’s like going on a first date with someone who is fantastic at one thing, but by the second and third dates you’re wondering if you have anything else in common with this person. That’s the drawback of being locked in at 19 and in that mindset - it has its limitations which stops you from moving onward.

The album starts off strong like a fantastic first date with a succession of catchy pop/rock melodies like “Say Hello,” “Send a Letter,” and the title track, which includes some sprinkles of synth effects that decorate the melody with a shower of sonic glitters. The music has a youthful exuberance liken to Punchline and I Am the Avalanche, which then begins to repeat itself. The synth-pop textures of “Lifeless” has reflections of their producer’s band Inkwell with vocal melodies that crisscross and create collision blows relatable to bumper cars going into each other. The rhythms maintain a catchy bobbling mobility through “Plan B,” “Right Now (With You),” and “Never Saw It Coming.” The trade off between pockets of loud and subdued guitars along the tune “They Always Say” injects changes in the chord dynamics which moves the album is a new way.

The dance-punk vibrations of “One Down, Two to Go” and “The Sick Charade” produce a wind-whipping urgency which undertows the chorus of charging vocals on the latter track. The mid-tempo levels of “All Your Advice” move at a more contemplative pace so the guitar rotations are milder and the soft flowy momentum of the final number “Something That I Miss” is reflective of the gentle melodies of Colors in the Air. The fluffy string arrangements that hover over the melody allow lead singer, Wes Locher’s voice to be audible. Locher, who also plays guitar and Moog keyboards, is usually overpowered by the music from guitarist Doug McPherson, bassist Bert Long, and drummer JoAnna Leitch whose drum kicks are essential in forming the muscular power punk pecks that indent the melodies.

The lyrics are conversational and typical of what people want to say when they try to unload burdens that weigh heavy on their chests. Locher sings about personal issues like in the title track when he calls outs, “Wait! Wait! I need somebody’s ear right now / To catch these words as they come out my mouth / Don’t go, I need a voice of reason now / It’s clear that I can’t do this by myself.” A lot of the lyrics are conversations with oneself like in “Plan B” when Locher reflects, “I’m watching these movies and they don’t mean a thing / And I’m more confused now than I’ve ever been / Someone tell me a secret or lie to me, please / Help to figure out what’s wrong with me.” Many of the lyrics sound like a basis for a screenplay, or at least they can be.

Early Next Year formed in 2003, and in 2005, they released their first EP entitled Sarcasm is Your Friend. Their debut LP Catch These Words shows the best of what they have to offer now. It makes for a good jumping board which could catapult them onward if they choose to do that. Otherwise, they will be locked in that mode of being forever 19 - musically anyway.

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Adrian Villagomez 12/15/07 10:29 PM

The lyrics you use as examples are appealing to me.