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Uyi Aghahowa discusses a band he thinks deserves more attention
The pop-punk revival of the 2010s swept the alt-rock scene by marrying what was the happy, anthemic sounds of the late 90s and early 00s with the sounds of emo. Bands like Joyce Manor and The Wonder Years set the example in the early 10s, whilst towards the latter end of the decade Like Pacific, Trash Boat and Boston Manor took the mantle and updated the genre. Whilst most of these bands borrowed their sound from Post-Hardcore and took the genre into a bleaker, edgier area, not many bands decided to look over to the other side of the emo fence, Midwest Emo. Dryjacket is that exception. Embracing a prettier, more serene angle, Dryjacket managed to break into the pop-punk scene in 2015 and stand well above the competition in terms of originality and creativity. Yet whenever revival pop-punk is brought up, they never seem to be brought up.
Like many other kids into pop punk at the time, I ended up sifting through Hopeless Records’ YouTube channel trying to find next Neck Deep, when Misused Adrenaline landed on my recommended. The moment the trumpets kicked in, I was stunned; this 16 year old had no idea that pop punk could be so calming and beautiful, yet carry the same punch that harsher bands like The Story So Far based their whole sound on. The song is a perfect intro to the band for this reason; kicking off with said smooth trumpet melody, a bustling verse delivers a catchy yet thoughtful passage on wasted feelings and regrets. Lyrically, the lead Joe Junod was miles ahead of most bands at the time, managing to stay poetic and emotional whilst not sacrificing melody, a downfall found in many emo-orientated releases. Not only this, but the song contains one of the catchiest riffs on the last decade in the bridge, displaying their amazing technical skill of the band. The math rock influences can really be heard, switching time signatures and creating this infectious piece of guitar work.
The song comes from their first and only album to date, For Posterity. Other amazing highlights include Two Toasters, memorable for its outro where the band manages to fit in an intoxicating guitar solo with refrains that will stay in your mind for days to come. “I re-read the transcript, prior to deleting it” perfectly encapsulates many wasted hours looking over screenshotted messages exchanged by young adults in love but in conflict, again reinforcing their poetic approach to relatable lyrics. Their earlier work, however, is where the real Midwest Emo influence shine through. On their 2015 EP Lights, Locks and Faucets, the song Jefferson’s Shadow is a love letter to the genre, with the outro mixing a beautiful array of riffs with aggressive chord progressions, whilst simultaneously playing around with different time signatures and polyrhythms, a staple of bands like Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)
Not only does Dryjacket keep things fresh and exciting in a saturated market, they also introduced a whole new audience into the wonders of music that they may have escaped them otherwise. Dryjaket demonstrate what you can do when you take 3 amazing genres and twist it into a beautiful storm of fun and catchy songs which anyone can jump into. Accessibility is the name of the game, if young me at 16 could appreciate the complexity and beauty of their work without much musical knowledge, I believe anyone can dive into more music that is adventurous yet welcoming. With a new album coming out soon and a single already under their belt, I hope Dryjacket finally get the recognition they deserve.