by: Ryan Waldis
Change is inevitable, or so the clichéd statement supposedly goes. Still, when a band decides to alter their sound from one album to the next, there’s definitely a bit of risk involved.
On one hand, there’s the potential to attract a larger listener-base by appealing to a wider range of music lovers. On the other, even a slight change could cause a rift within the present fans — some will be appeased, but others will be disappointed. The newest release from rising pop-punk/rock group Boys of Fall resides in the former category.
Better Moments – Gold Edition is the latest offering from the five-piece band out of Detroit.
Building off of their sophomore LP release Better Moments a year ago, this album features acoustic versions of “Giving Up” and “No Good For Me,” while also including two new tracks titled “Fake Smiles” and “Smooth Yazz.”
If you missed the Better Moments train in 2018, now is the perfect time to give the Gold Edition a metaphorical spin. The album is markedly different from their debut offering Thank You & Goodbye and should definitely appeal to a wide array of listeners.
Boys of Fall drew comparisons to well-known pop-punk groups A Day To Remember and State Champs following the aforementioned Thank You & Goodbye release in 2016, and tracks such as “Giving Up” and “Heartbreaker” on Better Moments – Gold Edition showcase some of the similarities between the bands.
Michael Martenson’s exceptional lead vocal work stuck out to me immediately; I’d go on the record and say that Martenson is one of the most talented vocalists in the genre today. Scott Solomon’s work on the drums in both of these tracks is pop-punk perfection and work in unison with the crisp and catchy guitar riffs present in both songs. The same statements can be said for other songs on the LP as well.
It is tracks like “Arson,” though, that make this album stand out immensely from the others in the genre. Instead of sticking solely to pop-punk and its traditions, Boys of Fall decided to experiment with some of the tracks on Better Moments – Gold Edition. While “Arson” definitely has a pop-punk feel, for example, R&B elements were intertwined throughout the song. The combination of pop-punk and R&B is incredibly unique when compared to what other bands are doing, and it makes Better Moments – Gold Edition extremely diverse. This combination can also be heard in tracks like “Leaving” and “Finding Home” and give the album a noticeable boost.
Due to songs like the three noted in the previous paragraph, I almost think Better Moments – Gold Edition and Boys of Fall as a whole can serve as a gateway in the pop-punk and pop-rock genres. To me, the album seems incredibly accessible and it might serve as a way for new listeners to discover other bands and music in the genre that they’d never otherwise heard about.
Now, those that have already listened to Better Moments may wonder whether the Gold Edition (and the four additional songs that come with it) is worth their time. My answer to that thought would be an overly enthusiastic yes—this album is just as good as I remember it being, and the four new tracks only further enhance the LP. The unplugged feel of “Giving Up” and “No Good For Me” provided a great change of pace from the original tracks, while “Fake Smiles” and “Smooth Yazz” instantly became two of my favorite Boys of Fall songs yet.
Boys of Fall is criminally underrated, but the releases of Better Moments – Gold Edition should help change that. The quintet of Martenson, Jake Cemer, Dan Quigley, Eli Sleeker, and Solomon is a perfect mix, and I can definitely see the band becoming a staple in the pop-punk/rock genre for years to come.
Better Moments – Gold Edition drops on September 13 via InVogue Records, and the group is currently supporting the release with a full US headline tour. For more information on the tour and the band, you can visit boysoffallband.com, or follow along on the band’s social media pages @boysoffallband.