Band: Once Were Lost Release: Owl Quest Area: Melbourne Date of release: June 26th 2019 Genre: Pop Punk Record Label: Independent For Fans Of: Blink-182, A Day To Remember
"It’s hard going when the chips are down (And you feel like there is no one around) Prove them wrong so there is no doubt (It time to get up to time to scream and shout)" - When Will Everything Get Better
Once Were Lost are a 5-piece pop-punk band hailing from Melbourne and releasing music since 2015. This release is stylistically consistent with their older work, similarly heavy with pop culture references and childhood nostalgia. Its opening track 'Ill Be Mario, You Be Luigi' is the most obvious example of this, a simple, chiptune-influenced intro laden with samples of the famous Italian plumbers named in its title, with a sprinkle of the infamous "Hadouken" from Street Fighter .
The EP’s second track 'Forever Young' does have some charm, although the album’s production issues mar its already simple lyrical and musical content. Drums dominate the mix and clip in some parts, I don't know if this intentional as sometimes it works in favour but others it sounds a bit too much. There is potential here, and even with the aforementioned issues the song at its core is fun and catchy, a statement that stays true for many of the other songs on this record. I found myself tapping along and wanting to join in for the gang vocal "Hey Hey Heys".
Nostalgia reigns supreme again on 'Say The Word', which pays homage to the pop-punk tradition of songs about packing your shit and driving off into the sunset with your friends/love interest. From here the EP takes a slightly morose, although similarly tried-and-true turn with 'When Will Everything Get Better'.
These highlight the band’s love for the genre and its tropes, which while endearing in a way, does feel a little derivative. 'We Will Rise' and 'Prepare To Fall' continue this trend, with the latter’s guitar lines getting just slightly too close for comfort to pop-punk’s pro-genital progenitors Blink-182 (couldn’t resist, sorry everyone) one stand out is the guitar solo nearing the middle of the track. Its simple but is a defiant ear catcher. 'Wayward' unwittingly strays into as well the Blink-182 territory also, circa "Dude Ranch".
The EP closes with 'All I Want' which is another upbeat, major key song that is fun despite its flaws. This is another example of the band’s potential to write enjoyable music struggling to shine through somewhat muddy production. “Owl Quest” as a whole has an exuberant quality that makes you want to look past its issues and nod your head along with its more upbeat offerings, I think for a DIY effort this is a solid sampler of that the band are capable of. Ultimately, if you can look past the rough edges, Once Were Losts' EP is an enjoyable 8 track for any listener looking for a fun and nostalgic 30 minutes of punk rock tunes.
Vocals: 4/10 Guitars: 4/10 Bass: 4/10 Drums: 5/10 Lyrics: 2/5
Would You Go And See Them (WYGAST): 3/5
Mixing: 3/10 Production: 7/20 Structure: 11/20
Overall: 43/100 Personal Enjoyment: 4/10