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Arm’s Length - Everything Nice EP Music Album Reviews

Arm’s Length - Everything Nice EP Music Album Reviews
The Ontario band arrive full-formed on a musically polished, emotionally ragged mini-album that testifies to the enduring potency of emo and pop-punk symbiosis.

Slide a burned CD-R of Everything Nice to a brainfogged A&R rep at DreamWorks or Vagrant, and they might be convinced they signed Arm’s Length to a development deal during those fertile days of the early 2000s when pop-punk and emo solidified themselves in alt-rock rotations. The two charmingly cash-strapped videos for “Garamond” and “No Sleep” give up the game: Everything Nice is a self-released EP made by post-adolescent, suburban Canadians born between 2000-2002. In many circumstances, the dissonance between this band’s unassuming presentation and their shockingly polished collection of could-be anthems would raise suspicion. But who would try to sound like this in 2021 if they were angling to bypass a few rungs on the ladder of success?
Yet Arm’s Length are apparently right where they need to be: “Garamond” owes its buzz to emo TikTok, a platform that thrives on an encyclopedic knowledge of genre tropes and a willingness to poke fun at them. The song itself is a testament to the enduring potency of the symbiosis between emo and pop-punk, the former’s chiming, wistful guitar interplay and poetic pretensions expanding the scope of a genre whose perspective is often limited to the insides of teenage bedrooms and gym lockers. On Everything Nice, pop-punk lends propulsion and melodic immediacy, shaping the band’s more unruly impulses into something accessible. When Allen Steinberg and Jeremy Whyte hit those airtight harmonies on the swaying chorus, you know what it is: a soundtrack for wistfully scrolling through old texts and secretly wishing the whole world could just get a glimpse of how you feel.

Arm’s Length’s updates for the 2020s are minor but crucial—a couple of tricky breakdowns sourced from the New Wave of Post-Hardcore and lyrics that deal primarily in identity, familial strife, and therapeutic frameworks, leaving the romantic turmoil understated but implied. What they lack in innovation, Arm’s Length more than make up in enthusiasm, treating their formative influences with evangelical reverence. The parts during the verse where a muttered vocal gets doubled one octave higher? The off-mic yelling and low-pass filtered drums? The way the second verse shifts into double time, hitting a giddy and not entirely graceful key change at the end of “Eve (Household Name)”? They’ve studied the masters and learned that hooks can arrive other places besides the chorus, that if the drums cut out during a particularly quotable lyric, all you have to do is imagine the DJ at Emo Nite thrusting the mic towards the crowd.

Perhaps it’s the dwindling of resources or attention spans, but like many of 2021’s standout emo and hardcore releases to date, Everything Nice is here for an emotionally turbulent time but not a long time. Even if it’s technically an EP, each of its six tracks works towards establishing the structure of a genre classic: There’s the introductory track that acknowledges its role as such (“Theme Song”), the one that slows things down just a bit with guitar harmonics and mallet percussion (“Gallows Humour”), the hardcore outlier (“Safer Skin”), the one named after a woman, and the one with the parenthetical, and those last two are are actually the same one. They also pull the time-tested trick of putting the big power ballad with acoustic guitars at the sixth spot—only here, it’s also the closer.

You almost wish they’d thrown in a few filler tracks just to give Everything Nice the assumed heft of an album. Arm’s Length aren’t trying to deny their anachronisms and attachment to the CD era; the cinematic breakup of “Garamond” is captured on VHS tape and “Gallows Humour” ends with the sound of vinyl crackle that you only hear on non-vinyl recordings. The nostalgia is real and if you were alive in 2002, Everything Nice will take you there. Yet when I hear Everything Nice, I’m liable to think of 2022—a time when college freshmen might again safely pine in their dorm rooms, when friends will commiserate over beers before packing into a sweaty basement to yell the chorus of “No Sleep.” The future of Arm’s Length is bright regardless.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Arm’s Length - Everything Nice EP Music Album Reviews Arm’s Length - Everything Nice EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, March 22, 2021 Rating: 5

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