I’ve said it before, and I’ll gladly say it again – Pop Punk is in a great place right now and I couldn’t be happier about it. I often get asked what it is I find so exciting about cheesy lyricism, the same three chords and gang vocals and each time I answer with one word – simplicity. If that answer doesn’t suffice, then I’ll go into a long-winded rant that goes along the lines of how I don’t consider myself to be part of a scene as such, but when I overhear the hardcore kids talking about how many noses they’ve broken in a pit in one night, or how they rag on their other friends for not adhering to the straight edge lifestyle, it makes me think that these so-called scenes that everyone lives and breathes are a bit exclusive and uptight, and that’s a vibe I’ve never experienced at a pop punk show.
That said, and taking my obvious love of the genre into consideration, I was pretty intrigued to see what The Projection had to offer when I was introduced to them. When you load up the band’s press page, you’re met with Trying To Forget, a track that sounds like a more beefed up, synthesised version of Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitta. Synthesisers have always been something I’ve had a love/hate relationship with, but The Projection use them well, balancing their power pop hooks with catchy gang vocals and the type of broken-hearted lyricism that every pop punk band should have in their repertoire.
From here, you’re free to choose another of the tracks, and if you’re not already hooked, maybe the title track While You Were Out will change your mind. There’s little use of synthesisers on the track, and instead The Projection show a pleasantly surprising likeness to All Time Low in the So Wrong, It’s Right era with their simple three chord interludes and clean, poppy vocals which are a welcome change from the HxC breakdowns that more and more bands are starting to unnecessarily incorporate into perfectly good songs.
Of course, there are tracks that are yet to grab me, and I’m still unsure whether I haven’t listened to the likes of Always Remember and Just Be Yourself enough to let them grow on me, or whether I just can’t get into stripped back, all-about-feelings tracks at all, regardless of the band I’m listening to.
For me, While You Were Out is what Pop Punk is all about. No matter how old I get, I’ll always be a sucker for lyrics centred on teenage angst and trying to find your way in the world and I think every kid who grew up listening to those same Sum 41 and Blink-182 songs as I did will have the same feeling, irrespective of what scene they consider themselves to be a part of now. The Projection encompass almost every single wave of Pop Punk I’ve enjoyed listening to over the years, from Take Off Your Pants And Jacket to Rise Or Die Trying to Real Talk and for that, I’m grateful.