The Aftergreens, coming out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, are comprised of Adam Baumann (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Eric Wigham (bass, vocals, keyboards) and Jordan Narloch (drums). Officially forming with the current line-up in 2014 (then known as No Action), The Aftergreens consolidated under a mutual love for pop-punk bands like Blink 182 and Death Cab for Cutie. Styling themselves in a flavour of indie/emo surf rock, their full-length, A little sad… but kinda rad?, is their third of the year and presents a mix of both older and new material.
Following the title, A little sad… but kinda rad? melds classic pop-punk lyrics which tell the tale of both the joys (ex. drunken nights) and sorrows of growing up and figuring out where the hell you fit in the world, with catchy instrumentation; a combination which gives you the choice to simply listen at face value, or to take the sentiment to heart. Take, for instance, “I’ve Been Figuring Some Things Out” which opens with a prominent but slow bass line only to pick up and wail “I want to keep in touch with my friends/I want to fall in love again/But I can’t from inside my room.” While I have a bit of a tough time relating, I can imagine many will find that the album strikes a powerful empathetic chord. Through tracks like this, I think like this album will invoke that feeling that someone has gotten inside your head and written it ten times better than you ever could have and then put it in an awesome song.
Peaking with tracks like “Singing Me to Sleep” and the short, almost entirely instrumental, “There’s No Surf in Minnesota,” A little sad… but kinda rad? was written, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered solely by the Aftergreens, and I have to say that that they did a pretty good job pairing the raw production style with their sound. Narloch’s drums in particular are a highlight of the album, especially in tracks like “I Guess It’s Time to Grow Up.”
Closing with the second last track “Thank You” which offers a unique and humble thank you to all those involved in making the band who they are and “helping three nerdy friends live out their dreams,” A little sad… but kinda rad? is exactly what it says it is – a little sad, and kinda rad – one to be enjoyed by fans of pop punk who are looking to find (or forget) themselves in music played by those in a similar situation.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Danielle Kenedy