Few small bands get the opportunity or even have the resources to hold a release party for their work. 7 on Pump 1, however, was lucky to have that at New Paltz’s very own DIY venue, Crossroads, on Nov. 22 for their self-named, debut compilation. Not only did they have a crowd eager to hear their newest music, but there was indeed some hardcore moshing as well. It was quite a night, one some may not remember, but a well-enjoyed one at that.
Personally having arrived at the celebratory shindig fashionably late with only an hour of the show to spare, I pulled up right on time to hear the star of the extended play, “Blur.” It’s fresh, it’s young, it’s summery and it literally had one audience member rip his shirt off. As the Billie Joe Armstrong of 7 on Pump 1 sang on passionately and the early 2000s alternative guitarists strung away with fervor, young bodies full of angst crowd-surfed — yes, crowd surfed — into the cold November night. If there was ever a time to relish in your youth, it’s while bumping to “Blur.” Something about the melodically repeated chords and first lines, “Break away from her sticky whiskey covered lips/And take a step back to let her hear you say,” has good old Arctic Monkeys vibes all over it. It’s an anthem of youth and carefree young love. In fact, every time I hear it I’m somehow taken back to a summer I never had. It’s the first song on their EP and I would say it represents the band pretty well.
Next up on the tracklist we have “Driftwood.” Resembling early All American Rejects in sound and following a classic alternative theme in their lyrics, 7 on Pump 1 delivers an anthem for the disillusioned, emotionally unavailable e-boys everywhere (you know the ones). Nevertheless, it is a relatable track that pairs a sunny tone with fun lyrics that would be sad otherwise. With the catchy line, “You’re one hell of a girl, but you’re wasting all my precious time,” even I felt that. The entire song is repetitive and sounds like the chorus on loop, but hey, the chorus is actually pretty catchy. With little “whoo’s!” as cadence in the back, the lead croons on, “Got you stuck in my head and I/Know you know exactly what I meant/Cause I lose my breath/When I’m around you.” It’s one of those songs that make perfectly sound sense if you don’t think about it too much… as are all the other songs now that I think about it.
A calmer, yet equally energetic bop comes in slot number three called “Flux.” The beat is cute, the hook is subtly emo and it’s the underdog of the album. By that I mean it’s easily forgettable, but I can see a select few stanning this song. “Flux” really is the right name for it as it talks about…well, I don’t really know what it’s talking about, but I feel it somehow. Something about agonizing over someone, the usual alternative theme. It’s the type of song that plays in the background of an early 2000s rom-com about apathetic teenagers in an affluent, suburban neighborhood. As harsh as that sounds, I actually think it’s the most poetic song on the EP. It’s all love here, 7 on Pump 1, but I’m just listening to the opening lines like, “I’m so sick and I’m jaded/I’m on the edge and soon I’ll lose my mind/But when it’s time/I’ll never be too late.” It bumps though…
The fourth and penultimate song on the record is “Holiday” by Green D—oh, whoops! I meant it’s, “It’s Okay” by 7 on Pump 1. That was a silly mistake since it sounds so much like Green Day, but it’s okay because it is absolutely the most beautiful song on the album nonetheless. My favorite part comes at 2:35 as the tone changes and the beat slows down and we truly hear the lead voice in its most raw sound yet. No more imitation Green Day, no more extra emo, over-produced The Smiths, no more Blink-182 scraps. This is 7 on Pump 1 and I want more of this. In these last 52 seconds of the song we hear a range from soft, raspy whispers to some gorgeous belting. On top of that, the lyrics of the entire song are a poem on their own, but the last lines accompanied with the bellowing tone shift are heart-wrenching: “You don’t even need to tell her you love her/New sapphires glistening like light bulbs shining all night long/You don’t have to tell yourself anymore than you’ve already done/But now you seen it clearly…That she made it/Ooh she made it/Back home.” It ends so gently that I always want to put it back on again.
Now, back to regularly scheduled programming of song covers, we have “Room Service” that resembles “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down so uncannily that I really sat down for half an hour trying to figure it out, asking all the fellow emo’s I know in my trusted musical vicinity. It’s a good song and it’s pretty well-produced, and I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they wrote it parallel to the 2000 hard rock anthem purposefully. I’m not mad at it, but I just wish they did something more original.
All in all, I think 7 on Pump 1 is a solid collection for an introduction to a band, but it’s not very personal. The EP displays their talent in lyrics, production and feel-good melodies. They forego concern with rhyming their often cryptic lyrics in favor of poetic content, and I can appreciate that. What the EP displays more of, however, is their scathing similarity to many older alternate ‘90s and early 2000s rock. You could have told me this was My Chemical Romance’s comeback album and I would have believed it. I give it a 3 out of 5.