Although at times a little too polished for my taste, Long Island pop-punk band Øff Guard’s debut “Set The Scene” EP is nothing if not enthusiastic. To say that the melodies are catchy is an understatement, and the energy in only six songs is absolutely electrifying.
Right from the start, everything on this EP is enthusiastic. “The Things I Do For Love” is a thirty-second introduction, prepping the listener for fast-paced pop-punk tracks with intricate guitar layering and echoey licks. It quickly transitions into “Strawberry Moon,” a track with a sound that, although common to the pop-punk genre, has unpredictable yet catchy melodies.
The EP is nothing if not catchy, in fact; “Hidden Messages” is fiery and upbeat, moving quickly as though staying in one place too long would result in a nasty burn, and although the EP follows the pop-punk trope of pushing an acoustic track into the middle of it, “Tension” transitions smoothly from acoustic to rock ballad and back again.
The theme of the six songs on “Set The Scene” clearly revolves around love; although not a breakup tape, the EP is about the chaos and uncertainty that comes with the intensity of caring for someone, as evidenced in lyrics in “Tension” (“I’ve been waiting/for those words to leave your mouth/but you never made a sound”) or “Strawberry Moon” (“I said, ‘Don’t look back’/she said, ‘How could I just do that?’/If we move too fast/we won’t remember what we had”).
Øff Guard’s “Set The Scene” EP sounds a little like Neck Deep meets Blink-182 (without Neck Deep’s sexual harassment scandal, of course). It’s similar to most other pop-punk albums, except the energy and enthusiasm brought by this band is unrivaled in the scene, and that’s evident in this EP. It’s certainly a strong start to Øff Guard’s career, and one can only hope that their excitement continues.