Souvenirs hail from Carpinteria, California and play an interesting indie and emo hybrid, drawing upon 90’s emo influences such as Braid and The Promise Ring. ‘Tired Of Defending You,’ their debut EP, is dreamy, melancholic and quite frankly beautiful.
The mood for the EP is set with brooding opening track ‘Port Authority’ which oozes 90’s emo angst. Everything about the guitars, the vocals and the sound overall could be lifted from an early Saves The Day or Jimmy Eat World record but they should not be written off as throwbacks as songs like ‘Sucker’ and ‘Sinker’ show a fresh approach to this sound with almost indie rock guitars, multiple tempo changes and heartfelt, clever lyrics.
The album is characterised by a sugar coated, hook laden guitar sound and this is especially evident on tracks like ‘Mary’s Friends.’ It starts out placid, but with hidden spite behind the vocals this turns out to be only the calm before the storm. Midway through the track ignites and delivers an epic crescendo.
‘How To Sleep’ is an entanglement of dreamy guitars, pain-laden vocals and a reliably toe-tapping, if understated, bass line. It is expertly formed and speaks of a band that have been together longer than the sole year that Souvenirs have been playing music together.
The vocals are quintessentially emo throughout, reminiscent of Brand New and especially Taking Back Sunday; There is a power and raw emotion to tracks like ‘Squeeze’ and its’ consoling refrain “I will be back to squeeze you to death.” The track squirms uncomfortably through three-minutes of hook-laden punk perfection and is one of the highlights of a very strong album.
Whilst this may seem like a gushing review, this is an album that genuinely deserves to be gushed about. There is a raw energy to Souvenirs that is not often found and they have captured something very special indeed on record with ‘Tired Of Defending You.’
‘Tired Of Defending You’ is a clever reinvention of the emo wheel. It is testament to the strength of this release that it seems that every classic emo band has been name checked in attempting to describe their old-but-new sound. Souvenirs are a band that, I hope, will not go unnoticed for long if they keep writing music of this calibre.
A storming, high-intensity EP of classic emo gems.
‘Tired Of Defending You’ by Souvenirs is available now on 6131 Records.
Words by Tom White (@whiteywitters)