If Indie Pop Punk does not warm your heart you are probably heartless.
Indie pop punk, it even sounds like a bright and shiny summer’s day more than a musical genre. This trusty troop of troubadours fly the banner up high, almost as high as the spirit of their 2013 release Letters From Home. Birthday Candles struck me in the heart, reminding me of a cross between Saves the Day and Said the Whale. Sound-wise, they hold down the happy go lucky chord structure and contemplative lyrics that you come to expect from any band that flies the pop punk moniker, along with a sophisticated silliness that comes with every track on Letters From Home. So let’s fly through this playback, on a journey of questioning this world we live in, lightly sprinkled with candies and lollipops.
The album opens with “Where We Belong,” getting straight to the heart of what Birthday Candles represents, a pensive mindstate that beckons you to address reality of society accompanied by an adorable soundtrack. The idea of the line sung by Matt which goes a lil something like, “they won’t take us away, from where we belong,” takes me back to being a rebellious shit-starting 13 year old who only knew rules were made to be broken, and that little dude has never died. Truth of the matter, which goes hand in hand with the truth of this striking lyric, is that when you are a non-complacent questioner of the general state of things, no one or no specific thing can sway or take you away from that state of mind, and when music inspires that feeling in your soul, it is needless to say that someone is doing something right.
What are Birthday Candles without wishes? Let this band explain it to you with their second track off their EP, a chanty anthem of what wishes are truly made of, cheerful hope that whatever comes of one’s wish will last. In true pop punk fashion, “Wishes” gives you the feel goods and just like the candles which grant you your wish, it is blown out just as quickly as it was lit.
Not to worry ‘cause Birthday Candles are quick to take you to their “Otherside” with a track that really reminds me of the good hearted fun that Said the Whale captures so well with their sound, but still has a very somber reality. Whatever the otherside is, Birthday Candles paint a beautiful and heartfelt image for it somewhere between the perfect summer night, lakeside, with a bonfire roaring, and the serene heavens in the clouds.
Chiming in next is yet another light hearted and smile-inducing song whose chant invitation may have you singing right along with the boys in the band. “Only Time Will Tell” will make you realize that Birthday Candles have found a comfy little spot on your soft side and the only thing that could make you love them more is just one more track which they give to you in an acoustic sing along by the name of “Without a Trace.”
Hats off to Birthday Candles for capturing a feeling of helplessness which is only accompanied with riffs and parts so sweet it is almost as if someone is patting you on the back and telling you, “everything is gonna be alright, dude.” I give Birthday Candles a 7/10 for a great pick me up album, that might make you reminisce about moments that left you in tears, because let’s face it, if the music doesn’t make you feel anything, then it just plain sucks.
Written by Joseph Francis Espinosa