Southbound – Sandalwood Single Review
Canadian pop punk outfit Southbound deliver a nostalgic craving for the early 2000s golden era of pop punk with their latest single Sandalwood, the first release off of their upcoming EP under the same title. It’s fair to say pop punk peaked in the mid to late 2000s and ever since then no ones quite managed to grasp the same spark that made the era so special, and if we’re ever in need of a come back the time is now, and Southbound could be the answer.
Sandalwood is a perfect example of that throwback pop punk sound with essence of Blink 182, New Found Glory, even Good Charlotte projecting off this track. There’s a good balance of new and old in Sandalwood and Southbound walk that line really carefully in not going too deep into repetitive and bland territory but keeping the track interesting and capturing while essentially staying within the pop punk guidelines.
Vocalist Austin Berry delivers some really genuine lyrics centred around dissatisfaction and self doubt matched with an equally passionate delivery, the strain in his vocals and the charisma it brings really adds to that pop punk sound and brings some real life to the track overall. Austin’s vocals are supported by the extremely tight and impressive instrumentals by the rest of his band mates. Rhythm guitarist Ethan Banks and bass player Jake Bissonette hold down a rock hard foundation in the structure of the track and leave a lot of room to work for drummer Aaron Cecerc who not only lays down the back bone of this release but adds some tasteful and skilful drum fills, bringing that genre staple of chaotic drumming right to the fore front of Sandalwood. Equally at the centre of this track is the fantastic lead guitar work from Kyle Lebar, imitating the vocal melody in sections and pulling off some in your face licks that bounce straight out at you while navigating you through the track with his passionate guitar performance leading the way.
Southbound really use the space of the track and don’t leave any stone unturned. Filling sections with drum fills, guitar licks and some shiny backing vocals in the post chorus, the band want to project as much as they can into this release and to the listener and lucky for us it’s enjoyable, well thought through and more than anything it’s pop punk. The production also does the track a lot of justice, everything is super clear and crisp but not too compressed or over bearing, something that can be a problem with this particular genre, but the band handle this along with all the other aspects of Sandalwood really well. Having only been together since 2018 the music they’re delivering at this short lifespan of the group is inspiring and it’s entirely possible Southbound could push the way forward for the new generation of pop punk. Sandalwood is a great track and Southbound clearly have both hands on the wheel when it comes to standards and performance meaning it’s exactly what could possibly revive a genre that’s starting to fade away.
Words by Dylan Booker.