Southbound – Sandalwood (EP Review)
Pop punk outfit Southbound, hailing from Cambridge, ON have provided you with a shot of nostalgic adrenaline with their latest EP ‘Sandalwood’.
Taking inspiration from where he grew up on ‘Sandalwood Drive’, vocalist Austin gives us melodic lyricism and raw emotion throughout the four tracks. This EP gives us a little change of pace from Southbound’s prior releases – focusing on keeping things a little heavier, whilst staying true to the genre.
Kicking things off with the very well received title track ‘Sandalwood’ – a punchy, energetic single that will bring you back to Knuckle Puck in their prime. A slight edge is brought vocally, complimenting the angsty lyrics perfectly. This track is so polished, its actually kind of surprising to know they only formed back in 2018. Grainy riffs and incredible bass tone hold down the track without overbearing tasteful drum fills that keep things characteristically pop punk. Sandalwood is one of the best opening tracks for a pop-punk EP I’ve heard in a while, and you’ll be reaching to replay this track as soon as it ends.
Next track ‘Surface’ by no means slows things down. Instantly making me grin from the opening riff, Surface is a non-stop summery, catchy track. It has everything we know and love from an old school pop-punk single. Surface is just a really fun single. Non-stop deafening drums, perfectly whiny vocals singing “let’s fucking do this”, and a snippet of a scream – what’s not to like?
Penultimate ‘Irritated’ is an emotive confessional track, speaking of feelings of regret, anger, and self-depreciation. Lyrics like “My head is heavy, and my eyes are baggy, patience wearing thin”. From the start Irritated locks in the bass and drums rhythmically, providing a nice theme in this single. Vocally, this track is great, Austin pushes himself that little bit further in his vocal strain at the track’s end – and we really sympathise with his heartache here. Irritated is a great example of how Southbound can pull together musically, and it’s a nice change of pace to hear everyone slow things down a little.
“Home” borrows some more of that great guitar tone with some interesting riffs and is the heaviest of the four tracks. We get to sample some more of those screams that have been dotted throughout the prior singles, alongside some classic gang vocals chanting “take me home”. Home is a little something for all those ex-emo kids out there (myself included here).
Southbound are doing everything right in keeping fans interested with this EP. Sandalwood is a surprising tasting menu of what Southbound are capable of doing, and I highly doubt this is the last time you’ll be hearing of them.
Words by Selina Payandee.