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AAA Music | 14 July 2024

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Straight Lines – Loose Change

| On 01, Jul 2010

Wales seems to be experiencing another flux in its musical history right now, this time producing a new breed of pop-punk music that could be called emo. Straight Lines are, along with their impending partners in gigging, Attack! Attack!, are part of this new movement. Their latest single, ‘Loose Change’, is an almost by-numbers example of this sound.

Starting with a borderline metallic yet melancholy instrumental buildup, ‘Loose Change’ then flows into a very accessible pop-centred number. Depending on your musical inclination, you may either like this or feel deceived by the first few seconds. The main riff of the song is the most mentionable feature, being a catchy and swirling little stroke of genius that is nearly always present in either the guitars or the backing vocals.

Musically, although the whole affair is incredibly like a lot of other pop punk out there, Straight Lines do offer some shreds of bait to keep the listener, well, listening. The guitar sound here is definitely something to note, being distorted yet somehow fluid, seeming to pour one note to the next once it gets going in a very pleasing manner. The drums and bass, while further back in the mix, are tight and by the time the track reaches its fadeout, they have established themselves quietly as a sturdy and reliable backbone, with small flourishes to sweeten the deal. Vocalist Tom Jenkins has the high-pitched, neurotic vocal style shared by many singers in the genre, and he does make it work for this song, although an entire album may be another question.

The production is heavy bordering on robotic at times (please tell me that’s not a bit of auto-tune I hear) and the chant after the second chorus seems frankly pointless. However Straight Lines’ accomplishment is to infuse a sense of genuine emotion in the ironically forced grounds of modern pop punk/emo. Some may balk at the distinctly American-influenced sound or pop style, but if you are still mourning the disbanding of Fall Out Boy then you will find some consoling and enjoyable new blood here.

Author: Katie H-Halinski