Album Review

The Initiative "Take Me Home"

Shawn Braley
“This reminds me of high school” I thought as I first began listening to The Initiative’s latest EP, Take Me Home. In the early 2000’s, when I was in high school (I graduated a whopping 6 years ago) I was nuts about bands like Blink 182, Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory and MxPx. These bands spoke to my situation as a teenager; falling in “love”, hanging out with my friends, watching movies and listening to music. This was life for me then, and listening to music that spoke to that was of utmost importance.

Now, as a married, college student, I cannot necessarily relate to those bands songs from back then as much, except through nostalgia. So why did I enjoy The Initiative’s EP so much? For starters, it does make me feel nostalgic for my teenage years, and let’s me know that I still have a long way to go before I am no longer young.

A song like “Basements and Graveyards”, which starts with a quick build up and heads right into a powerful chorus about friends, fun and partying. The music is pop punk to the core. Often, pop-punk is criticized for it’s lack of depth, being generally referred to by snobs as “mall-punk”, because it represents a culture of spoiled, American kids who have nothing better to do than play 3 chords. What a misrepresentation of a genre that provides what music has always provided: entertainment. In this sense, they are following in the footsteps of Buddy Holly, The Ramones and Elvis Costello.

It’s true, Take Me Home isn’t filled with poetic lyrics about the meaning of life, but the band knows how to have fun. Plus, the music, though simple, is top notch. The Initiative’s craftsmanship isn’t to be ignored just because they’re playing power chords and octaves. The construction of a pop song is a science, and The Initiative were able to create an album filled with gems that build up, crescendo, and explode at just the exact moments they should. They aren’t predictable, but they do follow a precise pop formula that is incredibly satisfying.

Singer Nick Rose lacks the general nasal, snotty voice of the stereotypical band, and the musicians (Joey Parker on guitar; Ben Thomas on bass; Ryan Rowlett on drums) aren’t falling into the trap of making pop-punk mixed with breakdowns and screaming (The last track, “So Thanks For Nothing” does end like this, but it is welcomed because it’s not found anywhere else on the album. This and the album’s opener, “I Hope You Find What You’re Looking For” are the stand out tracks), that so many bands of their ilk seem to be unoriginally leaning on in every song as of late. This doesn’t mean they are some unique amalgamation of music; they are a lot like the bands listed earlier. This isn’t a criticism because they aren’t boring, and they aren’t deluded into thinking that making music you love, even if similar things have been done before, is a bad thing. The Initiative is a talented band, with great melodies and fun music. Don’t miss out on this band before the buzz gets around. Take Me Home drops on 11/10/11 and can be bought on iTunes or the bands website

They’re CD Release show is at The Attic in Kettering on 11/10/11 at 6 PM and it’s only 2 bucks to get in.