If there’s one word that might describe Outpatient, the debut EP from Connecticut pop-punk band, Life On The Sideline, it’s lovely. That might sound like a bit of a cop-out, but it’s true – Outpatient is filled with lush melodies, rolling instrumental sections and beautiful lyrics, despite only being two tracks long. ‘Malone Avenue’ begins with some bouncy bass, twinkling guitar lines and impassioned vocals, and it just gets better from there. LOTS speed it up for the next verse, bringing that pop-punk power into it, but without losing that initial melody. Lyrically, it’s a dream; clever metaphors prevent the song from slipping into melancholia, and a final raw scream of ‘I’ll wish you well’ from Nick DiCiancia balances it out from being too pretentious. And that keyboard? Wonderful.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here. LOTS are much bigger than that. ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ starts out with a bit more punch, reminiscent of early Weatherbox. The rhythm section dominates in this track, and Joe Bonitatebus’ outstanding drumming shines through as a particular highlight. The end of the track, with its jangly acoustic punctuated by programmed beats, seems to come too soon, and we’re left desperate for more.
Although LOTS are generally accomplished songsmiths, there are moments across the two tracks where they try too hard to make the lyrics fit the music, resulting in some slightly languid sections. Nevertheless, Outpatient is extremely promising.
4 out of 5 high fives!