Throughout these past few years the resurgence of the pop-punk genre has been unprecedented. Bands like The Story So Far and The Wonder Years have had an almost meteoric rise in popularity, and while not being fully embraced by the mainstream, the genre itself has never been closer since its initial rise in the early 2000s. Despite this increase however, a lot of pop-punk bands have fallen to the wayside in comparison to their contemporaries, regardless of their talent. And it’s sad to say that Forever Came Calling is one of them.
Released in 2012, Forever Came Calling’s debut ‘Contender’ was a 20 minute blast of catchy, upbeat pop-punk. And while being relatively simplistic, it was certainly an enjoyable album. So it was a surprise that the album received a fairly lacklustre response, especially being signed to the pop-punk haven Pure Noise Records. That’s not a knock on any other band, it’s just a shame that Forever Came Calling failed to create the buzz that other bands were achieving at the time.
But onto their new album. ‘What Matters Most’ definitely features noticeable progression. Packed full of catchier melodies and more accessible choruses, and even a solo on ‘Rather Be Dead Than Cool’, there’s a clear transition from their rougher, straight up punk inspired material found on their previous releases. Overall, their sound is still more or less the same, but with far more polished production, Forever Came Calling are noticeably poppier.
Not that that’s a bad thing of course, as it leaves the majority of the album launching at full throttle from the get-go. Tracks such as ‘Defenseless’ and ‘Spanish Mother’s (I Just Miss)’ fully embody this, as they both consist of a tempo that is not only energetic, but choruses that are also ridiculously infectious. However, things are slowed down a notch with acoustic track ‘Endangered Innocence’. Personally, I didn’t feel like the song fit that well on the album. The album moves at a relatively fast pace throughout, however with the inclusion of the acoustic track it felt like it was tacked on, rather than naturally being a part of the sound. As a result, the whole track just feels forced, regardless of the subject matter.
Despite ‘Endangered Innocence’ however, the pace of the album is consistently upbeat. As a result of this, the similarity of each song does make each track almost blur into the next. Resulting in some parts of the album sounding similar to others, and therefore doesn’t really offer anything that interesting after repeated listens.
But sure, ‘What Matters Most’ is by no means reinventing the wheel, but it’s certainly presents pop punk at some of its finest moments, as the band really know how to play the genre right. From the use of gang vocals on ‘Mapping With A Sense of Direction’ to bring a new appeal to the chorus, to the use of palm muting to compliment the vocals on ‘Transient (I Don’t Miss)’, each typical pop punk stereotype is utilised so well, it leaves ‘What Matters Most’ with nothing but summer-fuelled anthems.
And so overall, ‘What Matters Most’ is a remarkably solid album, which is going to be enjoyable to any pop punk fan. And if Forever Came Calling never reach the same level of success as some other pop punk bands, then at least they made an album worthy of it.
‘What Matters Most’ by Forever Came Calling is out now on Pure Noise Records.
Words by Harry Miller (@HarrryMiller)