Freehold-based pop-punk outfit Batten Down The Hatches have returned with their latest EP, Beginnings, released on Meadowbrook Records. The five-piece has turned in another quality piece of work, combining punk sensibilities with pop sentiments. The result is four tracks that rock hard yet are wrought with sincere emotion. It takes a skilled band to toe this line, and BDTH does not disappoint. From the first cut, “Draw the Line,” vocalist Johnny McManus delivers some of his finest work to date, declaring “For the first time in a long time my eyes are open to you.” McManus continues on – “You were such a huge mistake.”
The theme of a difficult relationship is prevalent throughout the EP. While the first two tracks find BDTH in more of a thrashing mood, “On My Time” is an acoustic number that reveals the group’s softer side. McManus is locked in an inner battle of relationship indecision – he can not decide whether what he has is what he really wants, or if something better is out there waiting for him just beyond the horizon line. “I’m waiting for a sign that this is worth it,” McManus sings. “Maybe I’m just better on my own.”
On the final cut of the EP, “Beginnings,” the group shows off their multi-faceted approach by opening with a soft intro only to quickly drop into classic, galloping high-tempo Blink-182 style punk. Again, McManus and company are wondering some of life’s toughest questions: “We don’t know what the future holds/Can we rise above and break the mold?” Uncertainty is always a frightening prospect, either fort an individual or a band. It is nice to see a group such as Batten Down the Hatches embrace that uncertainty by blending genres so seamlessly.
MUST HEAR TRACK: “Rich Mahogany” – McManus’ voice soars in a song that shows off BDTH’s Blink-182 and A Day To Remember influences.
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