EP Review; Fluorescents: “Dead End Conversations”

The Album:

Fluorescents are a post pop punk artist from Chicago and knowing the strength of that music scene makes for a lot of hype for the hope of a new hard-hitting band. In 2019, the band released their debut EP, so it is quite exciting to see another EP so quickly from an upcoming artist. Let’s dive in to see what this Chicago artist is bringing to the music scene. From the jump, it is easily said that the band is coming into 2020 swinging, and I hope this momentum retains for years to come. As one begins listening to the EP, it is heard that the artist is utilizing the traditional pop punk approach to music. This includes, catchy lyrical moments that are supported by a diverse instrumental line. The diversions in the instrumentation allow for the lyrical line to shift (both through range and rhythm), but it also provides the band the opportunity to flip the ears of the listener by placing in moments of strategic silence, accented hits that relate to the vocal line as well as heightened instances that often spin into an instrumental breakdown. Now, that may seem a tad overwhelming, but Fluorescents are taking a step towards returning the pop punk sound to where it belongs.  The aspect of this record that is overtly pleasing to the ear is the juxtaposition of instrumentation, and to tag off that, how the band bends and twists their aesthetic to fit their overall lens in terms of the vision for this album, and their sound as a band. Overall, I am giving this EP 4.5 out of 5 stars. I landed on this score for a few distinct reasons. The first is the diversity. Each track is jam-packed with instrumental and vocal riffs that are both catchy and intricate. That blend makes for music that just makes you want more. The other main reason is this record throws me back to the old days of pop punk, and no, I’m not referring to 2018 pop punk- I’m referring to the 2005-2013 era. Even though a lot of the same techniques are used in the music scene today, there is a certain “it” sound that has diminished, but Fluorescents are bringing that back with a bang. I believe that this EP, along with their 2019 debut, will help to glide Fluorescents to the frontlines of the music scene, and I can’t wait to hear new tunes and see them rip this live one day- nicely done!

Top Tracks:

“Not Another Pop Punk Song” and “T.A.S.T”

The EP, in its entirety, gives listeners jam-packed bops from the moment that they begin the Fluorescents musical journey. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few tracks that stick out amongst the pack. Spoiler alert: these are those tracks. I landed on these tracks as the breakout moments, for yes, they ride on the nostalgic pop punk sound that we all know and love, but, on top of that, the band brings their innovative aesthetic that is fresh and intriguing. These selections, along with the rest of the work, will help to push Fluorescents deep into the music scene, which just furthers my point from the general view that this is a strong start for the band- building off their debut EP, and I can’t wait to see where it takes them.

Album Artwork:

When first glancing at the album artwork, it can be said that the pop punk aesthetic is here, it is proclaiming, and it is doing so with an innovative twist. That mixture together? The band is setting themselves up well for people wanting to dive into the tunes that fall on the inside. The cover art depicts a skeleton holding a beverage in the night time. The skeleton is being surrounded by purple flowers and slowly becoming wrapped in vines. The only other aspects represented on the cover are the name of the EP as well as the name of the artist. The art on its own is quite enthralling, so let’s take a look to see if it matches the music that falls on the inside. The initial connection falls solely in aesthetics. When glancing at the artwork, as mentioned earlier, it screams the pop punk genre to a tee, and then, when listeners move towards the tunes- that’s exactly what they get. Shifting towards a more abstract connection, as listeners truly listen to the lyrics that the band provides throughout the release, it is heard that the subject matter centers around emotions and self-reflection. These two sides of the spectrum hollow out oneself as they go through the reflection or acknowledgement process. It is also notable that this process has light and dark times. This relates to the cover image through the skeleton slowly becoming wrapped in vines while being surrounded by purple flowers. The skeleton could represent the person reflecting becoming more vulnerable within themselves, and the purple flowers and the vines depict that dichotomous nature of the light and dark sides of those thoughts and feelings. In general, I would say the music and the cover are solid by themselves, but together? Together they create a musical journey that people truly need to experience.

* ”Dead End Conversations” was self-released on September 18th, 2020 by Fluorescents

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