Manchester pop-punk crew Not Today have just released their sophomore EP Headway.
“The main theme of the EP is about being in a good place, moving forward from a dark period and ‘making headway”, says frontman Alex Hardiment. “We all know there are dull things in life, but we believe that fun that can still be had, even if you have to go to work on Monday morning.” If that isn’t the true essence of pop-punk, I don’t know what is.
The cheerful, catchy ‘Worth My Time’ and ‘Growing Backwards’ are pop-punk through and through, filled with punchy drums, chirpy summer riffs and layered British vocals—which is a refreshing change from the usual fake American accents that flood the British pop-punk scene. They aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but I mean, what is nowadays? Nevertheless, they are still fun tracks to jam to.
‘This Song Sounded Better In My Head’ has more of a pop-punk-hardcore crossover vibe, which is very reminiscent of Four Year Strong (especially in the thick breakdowns). The guitar work also has a very 90s pop-punk quality to it (a little New Found Glory-esque maybe?). Though the track is a favourite from the EP, the bold, energetic melody is almost slowed down slightly by the lagging vocals.
‘Coming Storm’ is a breath of fresh air as a more aggressive, post-hardcore sounding track, featuring some unclean vocals from Daniel Jeffery. The song sits comfortably on the mellower side of the post-hardcore spectrum, showcasing a darker side of the band with its moody tone and edgy riffs.
‘These Few Months’ is a delicate, acoustic track dealing with the pain of missing someone. Alex Hardiment’s strained, passionate vocals echo over the soft, gentle melody. Come on, what kind of pop-punk release doesn’t have a little emo acoustic?
Headway is filled with singable choruses, energetic melodies and punchy instrumental work. Is it changing the face of pop-punk? No. But let’s face it, no one is.
Overall, Headway is a cheery, fun EP to jam to, but from a group who named their band after a line in Toy Story, we didn’t expect anything else.
Headway by Not Today is out now via self-release.