Missioner‘s second and self-titled EP is composed of a mix of classic and contemporary sad-rock legends, Brand New and the Smiths. Although this stylistic configuration leads to a pleasant listening experience, there’s nothing particularly exciting or attention-grabbing about it.
“Fingernails” is a relatively weak opener. There is plenty of energy in the guitar riffs and the drums, but something about the production makes everything sound condensed. The transition between the verses and the chorus is awkward and takes the energy it attempts to create away. This energy finally unleashes for about forty seconds before the song ends, but it’s too little too late. On the plus side, this track, and the EP as a whole, has exceptional drumming.
“Running In Circles” is a pop-y ballad. Super catchy and well-written, it reminds me of Your Favourite Weapon era Brand New. However, it highlights another flaw in the band’s songwriting. If you’re going to emulate the sound of bands that are known for their witty, poetic, and emotional lyrics, yours had better be able to hold a candle against the source material. Unfortunately, the lyrics here don’t. While treading potentially significant and relatable emotional territory, the lyrics are too straightforward and come off as amateurish.
“Keep You In Mind” is my favourite track on the EP. The lead guitar part in the intro is bright and catchy. The verses are instrumentally rhythmic and restrained, leaving the vocals to embrace an emotional intensity that isn’t found on any of the other songs. The restrained verses also leave room for the chorus to sound huge and anthemic; a sound that I think the band attempted on the EP’s other choruses. The bridge in this song is slow and pretty, making the song even more dynamic.
The album closes with its dullest song, an acoustic ballad similar to songs that bands like this have been writing for as long as I’ve been listening to pop-punk. Putting it at the end of the record and after its most dynamic song is an obvious choice and encapsulates the album’s biggest flaw. Despite being talented musicians paying homage to great bands, Missioner fails to add anything of their own to the mix. Put simply, this record added them to a seemingly endless list of sad boy bands who like to write songs with pretty verses and big choruses.
Written by Brian Charles Clarke
*edited by Danielle Kenedy