Fifteen or twenty years ago, The Lillingtons, some Wyoming Misfits-sounding punk band had this one song I loved called "The Day I Went Away." It was super-catchy in that way that pop-punk bands would, rarely, but on glorious occasion, stretch beyond the normal brackets of the genre to produce these simple, immediately singable songs. Think top-down, California coastal highway drive on a sunny day kind of songs.
Also, this song was about being carted off to some sort of institution.
There's a whole genre of these kinds of bands where the content is dark and the music is light. Hence the Misfits reference above. "I want your skull"? Yeah, ok, pointy-haired muscle guy, your songs about horror films warm my heart. Sure, it's a pretty niche realm of music, but not all punk songs can be about the government.
The genre of this band has generally been 60s late night horror B-flick content. UFOs and crazies and the like. I'll admit never digging very deeply into their collection of albums from the late 90s and early 00s because I considered the genre too lame for my high-brow music tastes. No, I liked the Promise Ring!
And then The Lillingtons disappeared and I forgot about them until about a month ago, when I caught wind of this album coming out. Remembering that one song I liked, I listened to this album on a lark. Oh, hell, it's so catchy and dark and lovely! Mmmm, like a warm hug on Halloween.
Far more complex than any of their earlier songs, this is a lovely rebirth for what could only have been described as a simple pop-punk band. There's a depth here that's likely just attributable to a growth in musical ability, but it feels so well thought-out that I can imagine this turning into another album or two.
Don't get me wrong, I'll probably forget about it in a month; it's not a "great"* album, but it offered a much-needed hat-tip to my late teens at a time when I'm writing fancy job applications and have written so many narratives of myself that I'm having trouble remembering who I am.
I'm that guy that likes dark and catchy pop-punk songs, I guess. Yeah, I am.
*I mean, other people who know more than I do might not think it's great, but it hit me just right, so I guess that makes it great to me.