“Undesirable People” is a misnomer. With the amalgamation of different time signatures, off-kilter rhythms and guitar lines, philosophical yet uplifting lyrics, and classic Rock solos that would impress Jimmy Page, this band is more than desirable on their sophomore EP Eugenics.
Undesirable People are a quintet that hail from St. Clair Shores, Michigan with a sound that’s almost impossible to pin down to one normal genre. There are hints of Punk, Rock, Indie, and a touch of Pop. Upon signing with South Division Records in May of 2011, they released their self-titled EP shortly thereafter. Whereas the Undesirable People EP is much more straightforward Punk Rock, Eugenics can be viewed as an expedition into uncharted sounds that were hinted at in the eponymous effort.
Eugenics opens the extended play at a fast pace with a funky rhythm that constantly shifts and changes time signatures from the quick verse to the calmer pre-chorus and chorus. The main riff is gnarly and the chord progression is not predictable, leaving the listener with something different in a world where many bands sound the same because they’re all mostly afraid to change things up.
The second song, I Dream Of Real Life is where the lyrical output matches the musical in terms of engaging, thought-provoking, and unique. Perhaps a musing on life, a thought on a relationship, or both, singer Steven Kennedy quietly questions his audience on the other side of the headphones: “Did someone tell you just how meaningless our time’s been? / Is this really it?”. The quiet line and soft 20-second jam ends the philosophical song in order to set up the wall of sound in Basement Talk. Although one can never be certain since one didn’t write the song, but this one actually comes across as an American Basement song by being full of emotion, powerful songwriting, and easily fitting in with this generation’s recently taken-back title of (real) Emo.
You’re Lucky (I’ve Let You Live This Long) cranks up the catchy meter. The tambourine and the off-beat palm-muted guitars in the verse keep things alive and interesting. The lyrics are relatable in telling off a partner who has wronged the narrator: “Darling, how could you expect the world? / How does someone who’s got nothing but a soul? / You may never figure out just how much I don’t care / Save your sinking eyes for someone else.” A jam similar to the one in I Dream Of Real Life rears its head again to finish the song, and it is easily a welcomed finish.
The penultimate song, Deathly Combinations, is quickly and easily the standout track from the EP. At just two minutes and twenty seconds, UP get right into the mess of their most versatile track. The song is about multiple, poor (deathly) circumstances coming together (combinations), thus causing a difficult situation for the lonely narrator, a character Kennedy conveys well and with emotion. What makes this track go from a good to a great one is the soaring solo three-fourths of the way in. There were nice lines and complements here and there, yet this solo goes beyond what was expected both in terms of desire by the listener and seemingly capability on the guitarist’s part. The only downside, however, is that this is the only time in the fifteen minutes that a guitar solo stands out like this one, leaving the listener teased.
Animals closes Eugenics on a soft note. The rhythm is reminiscent of recent Transit and the tone of earlier Transit. Multiple, complementary guitar lines, crashing drums, and a heavy bass make this closer strong, catchy, and interesting. The crescendo and decrescendo of the song changes at a strum’s notice. Then, seemingly out of nowhere yet again, a beautiful trumpet line shines for about eighteen seconds--and doesn’t return. To boot, UP end the EP in a similar fashion to Pop-Punk bands: the gang vocals on a personal and relatable line: “How can anyone expect less from me?” Sadly, the only way anyone can expect less is by sticking to the clichés of the genres.
Undesirable People put forth a great effort full of new sounds, new instruments, new ideas, and amazing songwriting. While they show such promise for all of this EP’s sixteen minutes, they here and there succumb to some of the more boring and expected tools used by their peers (i.e., gang vocals to end the closing song). This, however, doesn’t completely bring down what they’ve set up. What hurts it more, though, is the lack of more exploration. Eugenics shines most when it sounds different, yet the only two majorly different parts of this EP were the guitar and trumpet solos. Understandably, this is an EP and is only supposed to be a taste of what UP has in store for its listeners, but hopefully they will be delivering a full-length at some point to fulfill what they’ve just set up.
2. I Dream Of Real Life
3. Basement Talk
4. You're Lucky (I've Let You Live This Long)
5. Deathly Combinations
Written by Joe Wasserman