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Driving East - Driving East EP Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 7.5
Lyrics 7.75
Production 9.5
Creativity 6.5
Lasting Value 8.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 82%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.33
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 8.17
Production 9
Creativity 7.83
Lasting Value 8.58
Reviewer Tilt 8.83
Average: 84%
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Driving East - Driving East EP

Reviewed by: Steve Henderson (02/09/07)
Driving East - Driving East EP
Release Date: January 19, 2007
Record Label: The Militia Group



There is really no arguing that The Militia Group signs some truly excellent indie rock acts. From bands like Copeland to the Jealous Sound to Lovedrug, the label certainly knows how to find the diamond in the rough - one that can appeal to our minds just as much as our ears. In light of this then, it is perhaps just as impressive just how adept TMG is at finding more mainstream pop-rock acts as well. Proving they are not just a safe haven for refugee indie darlings, the marque has introduced many an ear to the likes of Rufio, Cartel, The Class of 98, and others. And really, while these types of bands can make for lucrative buyout deals, they introduce a set of problems all their own, as artist breaking and upstreaming introduces an almost unnatural level of attrition in the band roster. When Cartel signed to Epic this past year, it left a pretty sizable hole in Militia's arsenal, as they no longer had a banner pop-punk act to cater to an accessibility-craving audience. Consider that gap filled, folks, as with their new digital EP, Driving East sounds more than up to the task of stepping into some pretty big shoes.

With a relatively small back history for new fans to go off and discover, Driving East has released a new four song EP to introduce themselves to legions of potential fans. With this release, though, there is little room for the word "potential" alongside "fans" since the band's variety of super-catchy, sugary pop-punk is so damn sure to win new fans over, that is really just becomes a matter of visibility. Once enthusiasts of the genre check the band out, there is little room for resistance, but instead infinite excitement for the future these guys are going to give us.

Musically, Driving East sounds essentially like what you would get if you look All Time Low's hook-weighted sound and extrapolated it another 5 years, adding in a little more maturity into the songwriting and application of pop and rock elements. This type of approach is evident from the outset of the innuendo-laden “Backseat,” which smoothly layers frontman Barrett Mullins' urgent, high-pitched (but not overly pubescent) vocals over layers of crunchy guitar that all comes to a head in a gorgeous chorus that never fails to deliver a smile. The same is true for the auditory crack that is "Come On, Come On." The track is led in by a driving drum kick and persuasive delivery once more from Mullins, but the song is absolutely illuminated by its unparalleled, monstrous hook. In the best way possible, it recalls shades of Van Halen or Bon Jovi at their pop best, but the execution here is entirely new school in the vein of All Time Low and Cartel. Simply put, it is easily the catchiest song of the year so far, and will likely maintain that crown throughout. "Blue Eyes" kicks up the verse pace a little to place a punkish spin on the cut, and in true form, the bittersweet chorus echoes Living Well Is the Best Revenge-era Midtown to hit yet another one out of the park. The closer, "All She Wanted," is solid enough, but in the A+ context of the EP's remainder, it is not as strong as its brethren. It still does little to nothing to hurt the EP's continuity or fortitude.

In the end, with their new digital offering, Driving East has accomplished exactly what an EP should. It places a relatively new band on listeners’ radar screens, and in turn leaves them salivating for an upcoming full length. Mullins' vocals are not on the genre-defining level that say, Will Pugh's are, but he belts out with a surplus of conviction, and contributes brilliantly to some righteous, barn-burning hooks. It also bears mentioning that with production efforts like this, Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount are rapidly establishing themselves as the go-to guys of pop-punk producers, and most definitely deserve a look from artists looking to tap into the lightweight, breezy sound these guys are able to harness so well. All around, an excellent effort by all involved - check this on out, folks.


Recommended if you like: All Time Low, Cartel, New Found Glory, The Starting Line, Fall Out Boy, Sugarcult
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 26.
05:02 PM on 02/09/07
#2
Steve Henderson
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Stream the entire EP here.
07:21 PM on 02/09/07
#3
Johnny Clutch
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Great review, basically matches my opinions almost exactly.

I bought this off iTunes last night, I must say its very catchy and very good.
09:16 PM on 02/09/07
#4
secondsunrise
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sooooooooooo good.
09:26 PM on 02/09/07
#5
MasonR5
Water and Mason
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pretty good

nice review
09:47 PM on 02/09/07
#6
mortal soldier
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Awesome review, Steve.
09:53 PM on 02/09/07
#7
petey536
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Good review, I agree with this completely
09:57 PM on 02/09/07
#8
Steve Henderson
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Thanks gangstas...we gotta get this band huge :)
10:07 PM on 02/09/07
#9
BruisedxBroken
Our song, the sound of suffering...
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you failed to mention that all she ever wanted was already featured on the black eye ep (2005/2006). thats probably why it doesn't sound "as strong as it's brethern"...
10:12 PM on 02/09/07
Steve Henderson
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you failed to mention that all she ever wanted was already featured on the black eye ep (2005/2006). thats probably why it doesn't sound "as strong as it's brethern"...
Truth. I think things like that show how far the band has come. Plus, Odom/Mount did a much better job with the production than Squire, IMO.
10:18 PM on 02/09/07
BruisedxBroken
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Truth. I think things like that show how far the band has come. Plus, Odom/Mount did a much better job with the production than Squire, IMO.

i don't know, the mixing and recording is alot better on the digital ep, but the overall flow and "production value" is tighter on black eye. squire is pretty much this generations mark trombino. it'd be hard to outdo his work...
10:28 PM on 02/09/07
Steve Henderson
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i don't know, the mixing and recording is alot better on the digital ep, but the overall flow and "production value" is tighter on black eye. squire is pretty much this generations mark trombino. it'd be hard to outdo his work...

I disagree 100 percent. There are few producers out there that overproduce as much as Squire. For as many excellent efforts as he has put in, he has trashed one as well.

It is all subjective, but that is my take. For reference, see his butchering of So They Say.
11:09 PM on 02/09/07
notoaststereo
they knew exactly what happened.
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my band played with them tonight and they were really awesome guys
11:11 PM on 02/09/07
BruisedxBroken
Our song, the sound of suffering...
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I disagree 100 percent. There are few producers out there that overproduce as much as Squire. For as many excellent efforts as he has put in, he has trashed one as well.

It is all subjective, but that is my take. For reference, see his butchering of So They Say.

haha, w/e dude, So They Say couldn't make a good record with jesus christ himself turning the knobs. I'm no huge squire fan, but it'd be hard to deny his impact with records like "a fever you can't sweat out" (don't like it, but it is popular) and "this is a stick up" under his belt. of course, like you've already said, it's all subjective...
11:19 PM on 02/09/07
Jason Tate
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Well written review (as always), the CD is well done pop-punk. I can dig.
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