At Face Value – ‘Ivy & Echo’

By Renette van der Merwe

Baltimore: home to The Ravens, the set of The Wire and… oh yeah, All Time Low. Filling the shoes of one of the biggest pop punk bands in the world is no easy matter, but city mates, At Face Value are determined to prove their feet are still growing. Two years on from ‘Thick As Thieves’, the Maryland pop punks have undergone a name change and gained a band member whilst recording. Previously known as Face Value, the 2.0 version return with brand new EP, ‘Ivy & Echo’ having enlisted producer Seth Henderson who has worked with Knuckle Puck and Real Friends.

The album kicks off with fast and furious opener, ‘Know It All’, putting the drums front and centre with crashing cymbals that occasionally threaten to overwhelm the song. Along with seldom breaks in vocals, you have little opportunity to notice the addition of the second guitarist. Yet, undertones of early Mayday Parade offers a nostalgic quality, keeping the listener enticed. Lead single, ‘Cinderella’ is a declaration of the power of friendship and how it can help in overcoming negative situations. Alec Myers wraps the idea perfectly by dropping the line, “Tonight I’ll be out back kicking it with old friends, listening to every song you can’t stand”, into an irresistibly anthemic chorus.

The third track, ‘24, Still Not Liked’ is pop punk epitomised, with group vocals, dynamic drumming, and a chorus that hooks you from the word go. It’s the guitar work that’s really the highlight of the track, however, as it displays the depth the second guitarist brings for the first time. ‘Overcast’ simultaneously changes the tempo of the EP and showcases lead singer Myers’ vocal variety, while giving us a glimpse of vulnerability, before the band plunge back into pop punk mayhem on the final track, ‘Return The Slab’.

One thing’s sure, this is a band who know how to write poppy hooks with a lot of heart and an indistinguishable passion for the music they’re creating, and you can take that at face value.


Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Bring Me The Horizon / Fever 333 @ Alexandra Palace, London

All Ears Avow - 'Skin & Bones'

LIVE: Deaf Havana / iDKHOW @ O2 Academy Brixton