Unfamiliar Faces is probably a very apt name for this EP. From all I’d heard about Singled Out before picking up a copy, the one thing that was cemented in my mind was that they were ‘pop-punk’. Thinking that I knew what I was in for, I put the volume up and sat back. What I wasn’t expecting was a full on metalcore assault from first track ‘The God Complex’, and I honestly had to Google it to make sure I’d gotten the right thing! As I listened, I realised that actually, this wasn’t too bad. There were some great breakdowns, growls that had some fantastic tone to them and the guitar tone was really neat. It was a really good track, but my expectations had seemingly been torn in half by a musical great white.
It’s not exactly back to business as usual for the rest of the EP, but the pop-punk element that I was promised certainly rears its head. ‘Conor’s From Philly, And He Carries A Piece’ blends the two elements perfectly to create a wicked track. The guitars are poppy, but with a hint of something heavier. The clean vocals from Alex Muhich are equally as impressive as his growls, though at first, I couldn’t believe it was the same person – his range is truly incredible. That hardcore edge certainly isn’t lost though, as some impressive gang vocals come to the forefront midway through.
Singled Out don’t necessarily maintain a balance of those two styles throughout, relying far more heavily on their more brutal influences. In fact, it’s possibly the one complaint that I have about the EP – while every song is equally impressive, I’d love to see more of a balance between their poppier side and their hardcore side. It’s still incredibly difficult to throw them into any one genre though – for example, ‘Designer Genes’ has a far more rock and roll feel to it and ‘The Road Less Travelled’ wouldn’t feel out of place on a Parkway Drive album, even with the pop-punk hyperactivity fused within it. None of the songs on Unfamiliar Faces feel formulaic, but they’re all very well structured and clearly intended for a live forum. Finishing with ‘Through These Eyes’, a beautiful acoustic track, it’s clear that Singled Out are ambitious, talented and fearless. Currently unsigned with a debut full length planned for release early next year, I just can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!