Columbus alt-rockers Something Else have produced yet another self-titled work, released on January 4, 2019, though this one seems to be a reworking of some of their older music. A few songs are familiar, and this time around, they are also more mature.
The sound of Something Else‘s seven tracks is an unapologetic, emotional one, and the polished production is a shift from the roughness of the last Something Else? EP. It does make sense; this EP was recorded during the summer of 2018, a year after the latter release, so there was plenty of time for self-reflection and improvement.
In terms of style, Something Else strikes a natural balance between the band’s first traditional punk record and their second, more mellow EP. Instrumental choices seem to have been made to reflect each song’s content, not necessarily to fit a certain vibe, and it allows each of the seven tracks to fall into its respective place on the EP much more easily.
“The Fool” kicks things off with guitar riffs almost as bitter and punchy as its lyrics. Frontman Aidan Hall laments that, “They never know the words anyhow,” overtop of sour guitar and heavy-handed percussion. The track is not fiery in anger, however, instead opting to remain languid, drawn-out and just relaxed enough to not seem frantic. It should clash with “Breathe”, the third track, which is lighter and more internal, yet the two are tied together with Hall’s gritty, grungy vocals and emotional lyrics. It is weighed down by the exhaustion of repressed emotions (“Oh, I’m fine/Swear we’ll talk some other time”), but the instrumentals are much less aggressive.
There are tracks that fall in between these two, as well as tracks that fit outside of this dichotomy altogether: “Shadow” feels poppier and is bright and upbeat, complete with a tinny guitar solo to add a lightness to the rocking track. Later, “Mess” is just as energetic, with its up-close sound and weird electronic warping to add a dance-inducing aspect.
This is all to say that though Something Else have tried several times, their Something Else EP has landed squarely on the mark with a neat blend of alternative rock and pop. It turns its focus inward, centering lyrically on themes of self-doubt and fear, and though its sound is more polished, the band has maintained its signature grunge. It is a sign of great things to come from the band in the future, although hopefully with different titles.