America, the land where pop-punk music rules and skateboarders are kings, has unleashed another blinder into the world; this time it’s from pop-rock punks In Lights, who are releasing their debut EP Running With Scissors. The four-piece are a social media experiment, having met over Facebook only earlier this year with the sole purpose of forming a band- but has it made for a eureka moment?
Bringing in a more mellow tone than most youthful pop-punkers, In Lights begin with a calm, yet still incredibly high-energy, opener with the EP’s title track. It’s instantly uplifting and, despite the production not being so easy on the ear as it could’ve been, the track speaks of a band starting their path on mature footing. Keeping up the momentum is ‘One Year Down’; another spritely tune, it isn’t breath-taking in terms of its originality but it does have something unexpected about it that nods in a slightly different direction to their peers. We expect its down to the dulcet, level-headed vocals, which adopt more of a ‘grown-up’ Mark Hoppus style (as opposed to the pitchy, whiny voices we often hear from young pop-punk bands!).
Picking up even more speed is the fresh, fast ‘Play Your Cards Right, Kid’ which is fuelled with tons of enthusiasm and vivacity. With its Forever The Sickest Kids mid-‘00s synth, we’d say this song absorbs much of its influence from the scene kid… well, scene; something we were all familiar with back in the day but have- probably!- grown out of by now. Given the grounded nature of their other tunes, we’re prepared to sound like our parents and say this track is probably just a phase that they will outgrow with future releases. Leaving us with one final, anthemic hit is ‘Turn Tables’, something more akin to the pop-punk standard of today. Again, this is another moment we’d struggle to describe as unique; however, their vocals continue to give them a cool, earthy depth that many others lack, and this just about saves them from being lumped in with the crowd.
Okay, so perhaps Running With Scissors is just another pop-punk record from another American pop-punk band. But maybe, just maybe, there are hints of something more within this four-track EP and, after a couple of listens, we reckon it might be worth hanging about for more from In Lights.
Running With Scissors by In Lights is out on 1st July via self-release.