Following heavy radio rotation in their native Norway, Bergen punks Taking Names are looking to take that acclaim worldwide with their new EP ‘Trap City’.
Intricate riffs introduce lead single and opener ‘Say Anything’, a song with plenty of attitude that maintains a certain degree of pop sensibility. This is evident in the outstanding harmonies and ridiculously catchy chorus that contrasts the verses in all the right ways. The dual back and forth vocals in ‘Near Life Experience’ are a welcome addition. The track is relatively static until the bridge, in which we’re presented with a bass riff, followed by gang vocals and the songs climax.
‘Young Landmarks’ opens with driving half time beats and heavily distorted power chords. Heavy use of “woahs” form part of the hook in the chorus which is reminiscent of ’…Infected’ era Sum 41. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the band have pulled influences from, but there’s hints of early 2000s mainstream pop-punk through to contemporary punk bands. It’s a much needed revitalisation to a genre that some could argue has become a little stale.
‘So The Legend Goes’ breaks the EP up with a sombre, pop-punk variation of a ballad within its verses, allowing for a huge anthemic singalong. It provides the EP’s highpoint with a little bit of everything they excel at thrown into the mixer. If the previous track is the definitive pop-punk ballad, then the EPs title track is the definitive pop-punk cliché. Not to use that term too critically, it concludes the EP with plenty of energy and does leave the listener fulfilled.
Whilst Norway isn’t particularly known for it’s pop-punk prowess, it’s fair to say Taking Names have proved that they mean business and deserve to be taken note of. They bring a unique take to a genre in need of reinvigorating.
’Trap City’ EP by Taking Names is out now on Loyal Blood Records.
Words by Ryan Wilson (@thrillcollins_)