Like The Next Big Thing
by Ryan Waldis Follow Ryan on Twitter by clicking here Band: Like Pacific
With just over one month to go before the unofficial end of the summer, the pop-punk music scene continues to churn out quality content. Genre pioneer MxPx recently dropped their first album in six years, while Texas group Oh, Weatherly released Lips Like Oxygen, a follow-up to their 2017 EP Long Nights and Heavy Hearts. While both are entertaining listens, it’s Like Pacific’s In Spite Of Me that is arguably at the head of the pack when it comes to the most recent pop-punk releases.
Like Pacific hails from Toronto and includes five members: Jordan Black (lead vocals), Luke Holmes (lead guitar), Greg Hall (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Taylor Ewart (drums/percussion), and Brad Garcia (guitarists, vocals). They’ve made appearances at major shows such as Warped Tour and Riot Fest and have also opened for fellow Ontario band Seaway.
photo courtesy of All Things Loud
In Spite of Me was released under the Pure Noise Records label. Along with the Canadian duo of Seaway and Like Pacific, Pure Noise is home to groups such as State Champs, The Story So Far, and Four Year Strong. Coincidentally, Like Pacific was actually able to work with Four Year Strong member Alan Day on In Spite Of Me. In an interview conducted by AltPress, Black explained, “Pure Noise suggested we work with him, [and] we were instantly on board. He really helped shape all of our ideas into songs, and we’re grateful we got to do it [with] someone who shares similar influences.”
As a big fan of the group’s debut full-length, Distant Like You Asked, I was extremely intrigued when the singles for Like Pacific’s newest album began to drop. Even after I learned about the Day collaboration, I was still interested to see if In Spite Of Me could top Distant. Naturally, bands are supposed to take a step forward from their first release to their second, but Distant was such an excellent freshman release that I kept my expectations tempered. It’s fair to say that Like Pacific completely exceeded those expectations. Their sophomore effort is incredible and a definite improvement over their 2016 offering.
It’s rare for me to listen to an album for the first time and not find at least one song that I don’t really mesh with. Even with Distant, I had to spin the album several times before I fully began to appreciate all of the songs on it. In the case of In Spite Of Me, I was semi-surprised when the final track ended because it made me come to the realization that I liked all the songs on my first listen. I went back a second time in an attempt to spot perhaps one song that I didn’t really connect with, but once again I couldn’t find one. The album both starts off and ends fast with “In Spite of Me” and “Something Missing,” respectively, and all 10 of the tracks transition smoothly together.
While the vocals, instrumentals, and melodic aspects of In Spite Of Me are all well done, the album truly shines lyrically. When listening to “Sedatives,” for example, the lyrics, “Whether or not I shared it with you / I was a book and you read one page / I was overlooked” almost caused me to take a moment of self-reflection. Even if the lyrics aren’t relatable to each individual listener, they’re still strong enough to make them take notice. It’s not just a coincidence that the lyrics for each song are strong, either; according to Black, “I spent many nights drunk and pissed off writing the lyrics…I was so emotionally drained recording these vocals, so [fans] just need to know it came from a real place.”
Pop-punk music and its siblings have often been dubbed as “I hate my parents music.” In Spite Of Me definitely plays into that stereotype a bit, especially considering the band’s motto is “Stay Pissed.” Between the loud (and, at some points, screaming) vocals, deep drum patterns, and hard guitar riffs, the album truly sounds like a prototypical pop-punk album, perhaps more on the side of punk than pop. Not surprisingly, this was all by design; per Black, “In Spite of Me is more about the anger stage… [it’s] Like Pacific’s pissed off side. I wanted it to be hard hitting.” If you’ve listened to and liked albums by bands such as Four Year Strong and WSTR, you’ll probably enjoy In Spite Of Me immensely.
In Spite Of Me is available on every major music streaming platform, including iTunes and Spotify. You can purchase a physical CD ($11) or vinyl ($18) on the band’s merchandise website, likepacific.merchnow.com. Like Pacific is currently touring Canada with Seaway and Bearings, and a US tour is surely to come sooner rather than later.