Quirky intros, rhythm-led songs, high energy, and a sound that seems to come straight from the 1990s define Lovesick Saints’ Dia de los Muertos (2013), the last of four EPs, following The Punk Rock Honky Tonk, Resurwreckshun, and Outside Looking In. Since they formed in 2007 in Scottsdale (Arizona), the alternative/punk rock band produced original, independent music. Over the years members have come and gone, bringing in various influences and perspectives which has helped keep the band’s sound fresh.
The band is currently composed of Tom Holliday (guitar/vocals), Jarrod Olson (bass), and Christian Howell (drums/backing vocals), who have put together a polished, rhythm-driven release. It is a typical punk EP in that it takes a sometimes quirky look into even the most serious of topics without crossing the line into inappropriate territory. Dia de los Muertos reflects three main music genres: a metal sound in its instrumental opening track, a more 1990s punk sound in the following four songs, and a pop rock sound defining the EP’s last song.
It might sound like a cacophonous clash of different genres, but it isn’t. It is, however, a little surprising, and takes some getting used to. The instrumental opener, “Dia de los Muertos,” seems to welcome listeners to an Iron Maiden or Metallica-sounding release. And while the infectious song showcases the band’s musical skills, its headbanging quality is to be found nowhere else.
Instead, the following four songs are smack dab in Green Day territory, so much so, that when I told my friend I was listening to their new EP, he believed me. But there were some quirks within this set as well. “Sick and Broken” starts off like a Social Distortion song before morphing into Green Day. “One Foot in the Grave” sticks with Green Day’s stylings, but the next track opens with a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace,” which ushers in “War Story.” This, the EP’s fourth song, is the proverbial hook that got me interested in Lovesick Saints.
Holliday describes “War Story” as “a heartfelt punk rock tribute to all those who fought and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.” The band expresses its gratitude to the soldiers and their families for the sacrifices they make in the name of freedom while sticking to the full set of punk song rules. The penultimate “This Ain’t It” is the most, well, Green Day-esque track on here. It leads into the closing track, “Empty,” a surprising pop rock song that finally makes Holliday’s vocals shine.
The vocals, although displaying a good range as well as singing talent, do not seem strong enough to carry a punk tune. I am not quite sure if this has to do with a lack of good sound engineering or a lack of vocal strength.
Fans of Green Day, Social Distortion, Alkaline Trio (and other mainstream punk rock) will like this fourth EP of Lovesick Saints, but you have been warned: there are some interesting fluctuations, to say the least. Stream the full EP on SoundCloud or Bandcamp. You can follow the band on their website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.
First published here on Blogcritics.