Pop-punk is hardly a genre you’d associate with France, the scene has been dominated by America for so long but it seems that within the last few years Europe is finally producing some bands who are gaining attention within the scene. On their debut EP Beers and Fucked Up Friends, SUMMER LAKE HEROES are looking to follow in the steps of CHUNK, NO CAPTAIN CHUNK and show just want the French can bring to pop-punk.
Opening track Mr. Stupid starts things off with your typical pop-punk cliche of moving on from a failed relationship. Lyrically it certainly isn’t the most inspired song ever but it still manages to be fairly catchy. SUMMER LAKE HEROES definitely seem to place a lot more emphasis on the pop elements of pop-punk, there’s very little aggression in vocalist Camille’s delivery. Fortunately she also avoids singing in an awful fake American accent which definitely helps this EP stand out a bit more. Second track B.F.F. adds a bit more chug to proceedings and is the kind of song that would be sure to get a Warped Tour crowd bouncing. By track 3 it’s apparent that SUMMER LAKE HEROES aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel here at all so the EP ends up being a collection of competent but uninspired songs.
The EP feels more like a checklist of what a pop-punk band needs to do to gain attention. Lyrics cover all the bases from break ups to hanging out with your friends and every other cliche in between. Obviously SUMMER LAKE HEROES are in their very early stages as a band having only formed last year and on this EP they do show they are a capable band. Perhaps it’s harsh to criticise SUMMER LAKE HEROES for sticking to the formula of their genre but when bands like THE WONDER YEARS have come along and done far more creative things, this by the numbers approach to pop-punk just doesn’t cut it anymore.
In terms of performances Camille does shine at times on vocals and there’s definitely a lot of passion in the songs. Sadly the rest of the band never anything more than competent, none of the music is ever particularly memorable. There’s very little variety between the seven songs either which results in the EP getting boring before the end.
Overall it’s tough to recommend Beers and Fucked Up Friends. It certainly isn’t the worst that pop-punk has to offer but it certainly isn’t close to hanging with the best of the genre. SUMMER LAKE HEROES first effort as a band is a mediocre EP that is unlikely to stand out right now, perhaps next time they’ll be able to deliver something stronger.
Beers and Fucked Up Friends is out now.
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