Believe You Me, a Pop-Punk quintet from the midwest, have been together since October 2009 thus making them more of a veteran in the underground. Nevertheless, though, their second release, Up From Here, makes them out to be a band that is still trying to find its own special something that sets it apart from the rest of the immeasurable Pop-Punk crowd.
The EP starts off with the eponymous title track. The instrumentals are catchy and cleanly produced, but there’s nothing new here. The vocals are solid and produced well, too, but the lyrics are lacking: “Things can only go up from here/ You’ve finally got me moving/ I’m no longer stuck in first gear/ I know what I wanna be/ You’re the only one who sees anything at all in me”. These lyrics fit right in with all of the songs on Simple Plan’s first two albums (from 2002 and 2004, respectively). Because of that, Believe You Me introduce themselves on their second release as nothing but possibly a nostalgic nod to our generation’s early adolescence.
Seven Fifteen only makes Up From Here come off as another track that’s been heard before. With the muffled, electronic, and radio-fied intro, the song does less to stand out amongst Believe You Me’s peers than its predecessor. It’s difficult to figure out when Seven Fifteen ends and Hard Luck begins. The two tracks mesh together in a negative way: the theme is practically the same, the catchiness is turned up to eleven, and there’s hardly any holding back; and when bands hold back on their strengths is when they often shine. Sadly, Believe You Me isn’t too bright in that regard.
Communication, the penultimate track on the EP, begins with an instrumental intro that holds the listener in suspense. The palm-muted guitars and the simple riff keep things interesting (though not new) until the verse comes in. A very regular bass, drums, and one-guitar support slightly predictable but still relatable lyrics. The chord changes of the chorus, however, never stop and create a great, dance-y vibe. The second verse is more of the same until AJ Perdomo (of The Dangerous Summer) makes a guest appearance that stops the entire song in its tracks. His voice sounds interesting in a more pop-punk setting compared to his band’s alternative atmosphere; but while Perdomo picks up the track some, his part feels like hardly more than a gimmick to garner listeners. After a shortened third verse, the pop-punk gang vocals of “I’ll float on/ Somehow I’ll make it” come in. Even though the gang vocals at the end of an EP have been done before, this is only the second-to-last track. While the gang vocals do end the song, they last for almost two minutes over crescendoing music. Perdomo makes another appearance in the background, but if he weren’t there the listener wouldn’t notice. Thus, while Communication began as Believe You Me’s strongest track on Up From Here, it ended up as repetitive and somewhat gimmicky.
After the misfired epic ending of Communication, Heart Of Gold tries to bring the energy back for one last song. It’s a foot-tapper of a closer, but breaks no new ground; nevertheless, it doesn’t do anything especially wrong. It’s just a lackluster track that anyone who’s listened to Pop-Punk in the last decade has already heard.
Believe You Me isn’t a bad band by any means, but they also aren’t anything new or different. They play everything that’s been done before, and in an over-saturated genre (like Pop-Punk), there’s no room for “just okay” bands to stick out. They play very well, their production is great, and their hearts are in the right place; their music just doesn’t do anything special.
1. Up From Here
2. Seven Fifteen
3. Hard Luck
4. Communication (Feat. AJ Perdomo)
5. Heart Of Gold
Written by Joe Wasserman