I’m not one to be much for the emo sect of pop punk. I know it’s closed minded to almost upfront judge an entire genre of music, but I just don’t find much there that I enjoy. And usually, I’m even less of a fan of “noodling”. Skulking around the dark and terrifying internet, I come across Shredding. The name’s in that cool ass melting text. These guys definitely skateboard. I click play, expecting a southwest garage act. Scrolling further down the page, and I find the tags “emo”, “feelings”, “noodles”, and “pop punk”. I make it through all 6 songs. Not only that, I enjoyed them.
So what makes Shredding different from many bands of their ilk? Well, let’s start with “emo” and “feelings”. Now there’s some great emo out there, but much of the stuff in recent memory is either cloyingly twinkly, or theatrically whiny. When I listen to emo, I want the sadness to be somber. I derive much more pleasure from listening to a somber man than a melodramatic boy, and with Shredding Everything, we get the former. The vocals aren’t subdued by any means, but there’s a natural gruffness and a bizarre sort of effortless feel to them. A great deal of emo vocalists don’t vocalize naturally. They’re pressured to “enhance” the feelings rather than just show them as they are. The vocals here fade, growl, and crack, always naturally. It’s not the most technical performance, but that’s why it’s special; it doesn’t sound like a performance.
“Noodles” can be delicious. In moderation. Too many noodles and you’re getting fat on starches. Shredding Everything has its fair share of noodling, but it’s always within the context of the song, rather than an obnoxious tangential distraction, so the listener can enjoy the guitar for what it is: very, very good. Shredding is an apt name for the band, despite potential preconceived notions about what the music would be coming in.
Lastly, “pop punk”. Shredding’s brand of pop punk shares most in common with my personal favorites in the genre, bands like Dillinger Four and Toys That Kill. It’s fast, smart, poignant, emotionally charged, energetic, and actually fun.
Shredding Everything is a more than solid debut EP from a band we might be hearing on Recess Records in a few years time. That or the Clerks 14 soundtrack or whichever one Kevin Smith’s on now.