Olivia the Band follows up their 2005 national Essential Records debut with a fresh round of songs that might have even the least likely listener of pop punk singing along. If this EP proves nothing else, it's the fact that Essential's decision to drop the band was a poor one. Most record companies let a band go before the label is brought down and is quite too often a wise move, but Essential might have a blind eye in that department and therefore failed to foresee Olivia's future beyond an underwhelming debut with such promise.
As a newly independent artist in 2006 (who has since signed with Syntax imprint Up At Nite Records), Olivia the Band released one of the best independent recordings last year. However, not many people will hear the artistic quality of the EP due to it's limited release, having been made available online and at live shows only.
"Something Greater" opens the EP on a catchy, upbeat note and delivers progressive verses followed by a shouting chorus that will probably work its enthusiasm into your soul and have you singing (or at least head-bopping) along. "Letters in White Lines" which comes up next, is a song that touches on the more serious aspects of the album. It poses the question, "Can you see that it's today?," stating that you can't live for yesterday and tomorrow isn't guaranteed, so live for today because after all, that's all you have at the moment. "Are You Out There" offers a vocal style that may remind some of Relient K's Matthew Thiessen. As Christians, we all feel the effects of the world around us and sometimes can't help but feel alone. This song is a cry for help directed at God and it even admits within the verses, "I'm a lost soul." Most songs dealing with the concept of needing God's help do not claim being lost but rather focus more on the fact that help is needed and sometimes leads the listener to wonder whether or not help will be received at all. This perk to the album makes it a top choice for passing along to nonbelieving friends.
"See You Never, See You Soon" is a catchy drum and electric guitar number that is of the same sound quality of popular pop punk rock bands like Relient K and Hawk Nelson. This is used to the band's advantage though when the vocals start and make this track progress perfectly into the last ballad on the EP. And "Feelings" gives the album a happy closure. With a rhythm that's up-tempo, this song offers up a healthy portion of what made long time fans of Olivia the Band fans in the first place.
For fresh ears, this EP is anything but "played out" or "overdone." I would recommend this record for anyone looking to find a good album to hand off to unsaved friends who enjoy catchy pop/rock music. It's not subtle in its message, but the lyrics do not come off too pushy either. If you are a devoted fan of the band, chances are you have already got your copy in hand. If not, what are you waiting for? The EP is a nice appetizer as fans wait for the band's sophomore release in January.
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