REVIEW: Stay Awake – Dropouts And Whereabouts EP

Band: Stay Awake
Album: Dropouts And Whereabouts EP
Release: 2011
Label: Unsigned
Genre: Pop-punk

Reviving the highschool pop-punk spirit, New Zealand youngsters Stay Awake created a début EP stuffed with their influences, from blink-182 through Green Day to Yellowcard. Dropouts & Whereabouts EP is a short 14-minute blast of nostalgia from the quartet, and a convincing start on the road to getting signed.

After a brief Angels & Airwaves-esque intro, the EP properly gets underway with its lead single “Forget Me Not”, featuring a light melodic lead and blink-style vocals from Clark, backed up in both aspects by Bennett, and the low end is brought up by Carroll and Tarren-Sweeney. It’s a formulaic approach, but it works for them. The production works in their favor, neither burying nor boosting any one instrument, but making sure they work in harmony, although the gang vocals detract slightly. “Escape Story” follows a more driven route, closer to Green Day in melody but with a tinge of Simple Plan in the lyrics: “We’ll be the escape story/The ones that you wish you’d never let go”. “Caps Lock Is Cruise Control For Cool” breaks out the cheesy lyrics, but also sports a fairly enjoyable solo, even if the drums don’t sound wholly original. Closer “It’s Not Too Late” takes an interesting approach musically, featuring possibly the first ever pop-punk breakdown and incoherent guest screams, although honestly I think it doesn’t suit them as well as the catchy chorus.

If the likes of blink-182 and No Motiv tickle (or tickled) your fancy, then do yourself a favor and check out Dropouts & Whereabouts EP. As a free download from Bandcamp there’s little to lose and a whole lot of nostalgia to regain. Let’s see if Stay Awake mature as they grow, or stick to the fun approach like some people.

Rating: 5.5/10

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