Urgency - Beauty Never Ceases EP Release Date: November 2006 Record Label: Unsigned
Besides the obvious abomination that has become mainstream rap, few genres have lost their way as much as pop-punk. From its once-held perch atop a throne in Drive-Thru Castle in the late '90s, the genre has pretty much fizzled out, of course with a few exceptions. Perhaps it was the accompanying oversaturation that accompanied the pop-punk gold rush at the turn of the century, but whatever the reasons, there is no denying that the sound needs a dash of cayenne pepper. Not necessarily a revival in ideology, but rather just a few kids looking to bust their asses to prove themselves. And that is precisely where a group like Urgency comes in.
While there is certainly a lot to be said for innovation, a similar case can still be made for playing extremely well by a predetermined set of rules, and these guys are doing just that. No, they are not re-inventing the proverbial wheel, or whatever tired phrase detractors will use to discredit a band like this, but simply put, Urgency takes the pop-punk blueprint and puts its own spin on it, along with an immediacy that does the group's namesake more than its fair share of justice. For an unsigned band, an EP is more than just a teaser for an upcoming full length, it is a proving ground that needs to scream two things - "Hey, check us out" and "We are worth it - sign us!" So, ultimately, does Beauty Never Ceases respond affirmatively to these two litmus tests? Very much so.
After the requisite intro track, Urgency's EP blasts out of the gate like a greyhound after a mechanical bunny. From the rolling guitar crunch of "Far From Your Tongue" to the well-textured pop of the title track and on into the next two "real" tracks, it is obvious that the band has a knack for rendering emotional and immediate pop music. The songs are wisely structured around Tim Knapp's soaring vocals, which might seem whiny and overwrought in the context of other musical stylings, but here they work extremely well in creating a glistening focal point to snatch up the listener's attention. Think Number One Fan with a permanent smile and fresh shot of energy. And in truth, the rest of the guys support him well, providing solid, if not standard backings for his vocal exhibitions. Riffs are your traditional pop-punk fare and percussion is right in tune, and it all the ingredients mesh together quite pleasantly for a tight, yet slightly typical, sound.
However, for all of the EP's boyish charm and allure, it does have its blemishes. First of all, there are only four substantial, yet still brief, tracks on the release, which makes the EP frustratingly lean. And to be perfectly honest, with what is going on here, that is about the right amount. As one approaches the EP's horizon, it becomes apparent that the tracks all bleed together a bit. They are all uptempo, windows-down soundtracks that are indeed pleasing to the ear, but by the fourth consecutive fastball, a change-up would be nice. As well, another thing the guys could improve upon is the depth of their choruses. Knapp sings his heart out, sure, but he flies solo for most of the mission. For some genres this might pass, but we all know that pop-punk fans are suckers for a huge hook. So brush up on those harmonies son, or get a producer that can cheat your way in there if you want to roll with the big dawgs.
All in all, though, Urgency's debut release is not perfect. But nevertheless, when you consider how short this band has been together, and how quickly they recorded their EP, the end result is cast in a much more flattering light. Urgency is certainly one of the best unsigned acts that I have been exposed to this year, and certainly deserve the same level of exposure to like-minded music enthusiasts. Fans and labels alike - check out a young band with astounding potential.