Here’s a banger of an extended play by Washington, DC pop-punkers Magazine Beach. Dubbed Sick Day and released independently on December 13, 2019, this album is 11 minutes of head-banging fun. I really can’t be mad at the members of Magazine Beach for not bringing anything new to the table musically with these four songs. Although they only have a handful of releases, including a demo and a single, these guys have been around since at least 2008 and they’ve done a great job conveying the fun they have playing together on this record.
Any track from this EP would feel at home in any late-90s-early-2000s nostalgia playlists. The Blink-182/Sum 41/The Offspring vibe is real! Nasally vocals, timidly rebellious lyrical themes, and not-quite-raucous power chords with some added surf overtones rule this soundscape. The melodies, chord structures, and arrangements are simple and straightforward, and there’s a total absence of anything fancy or technical in the musicianship. As you may be able to tell, this kind of music doesn’t exactly push my buttons, but I must admit, Sick Day is a well-written and well-produced collection of songs. They’re catchy enough that you’ll be singing along after a couple of listens; nothing feels out of place in the mix.
All in all, this is a fun EP, but it really wears down on the ears after the second or third spin. Opener “Trainwreck” has all the high school summer love nostalgia I wasn’t hoping for and is probably the best track on Sick Day. “Big Tobacco” cements the overall feel with an easy-to-sing, catchy chorus. If you’ve got memories of old friends leaving you hanging, “Flakey Dude” will bring those right back. And finally, “Living Room” closes the loop with an angsty love story that throws it back lyrically to “Trainwreck:” “Think that you’re the train / Baby I’m the track / When I say I say I love you / You don’t have to say it back,” says singer/guitarist Angelo Leitner-Wise. It’s a clever way to close off this EP!
I probably would have enjoyed Sick Day more when I was ten or fifteen years old (that’s between 2000-2005). Back then, this type of music was very much in the mainstream. Now, it’s more of a niche genre and while Magazine Beach may be able to get these tracks on some pop/punk playlists, they won’t gain much more traction than that without digging deeper musically. The good energy emanating from this EP, along with good production, are enough to earn the passing grade from me, but if these guys want to really impress, they’ll have to go back to the drawing board. Stay tuned for EP number two, which, according to their Instagram page, is in the writing/production phase now while the band self-isolates in the woods amidst COVID-19 concerns.
Written by Henri Brillon
*edited by Danielle Kenedy