The Waiting Room – All Systems Go (EP Review)
New Jersey pop punk outfit All Systems Go drop some of the most captivating, soulful and heartfelt rawness of last year on their December 2019 EP, “The Waiting Room”.
There’s lots of ways to try to describe TWR but I think the band themselves put it best when describing their music on as “Pop Punk, the way you remember it.” and I don’t think I could agree with them more. TWR is a great pop punk record to put it bluntly, but it’s not just the bands grasp on the genre, but their willingness to push it that little bit further.
ASG not only demonstrate an individual and direct lyrical delivery but equally a powerful and passionate performance that resonates firmly from the very beginning of the record. Opening track “The Story So Far” welcomes you to what would seem to be a confused individual, asking themselves the same question and trying to find some kind of clarity, it brings the idea of uncertainty and hesitance to the EP over all arc, all by being backed up by this gripping pop punk guitar melody and super tight rhythm section.
We then come to the most intricate part of the record with “TJ Eckleburg Isn’t Even a Doctor”, the band here really demonstrate their musical ability with the track opening on some quick guitar licks, reminiscent of early Sum 41. The frantic hi-hat and snare work during the verse section and the smooth bass patterns in the slower segments of the track. Definitely a stand out on this release and a track that first introduced some diverse routes to the bands style.
“Real” is full of all kinds of surprises, the bands take on a ballad themed song not only is it really well delivered but in fact throws in these little licks and fills, along with some truly elevating segments including the chorus and the pre chorus, forcing vocalist Matt Penza to really shine on this track and present possibly his best performance on the record, his powerful delivery really pulls you into this song and grasps onto you until the end.
Following into “Rom Com” we get the only acoustic based track on the release and possibly the most personal lyrical performance. Themes of wanting and vulnerability are very present on this track and it really creates a sense of honesty that is definitely to be taken away from Ron Com, made all the more immediate by the bands subtle performance, particularly the guitar melodies carrying in the background of this track that make such a scene to be pictured on this one.
Finally we come to the closing piece “I’m Trying”, a track that also features members of the band Sweep Echo. With its Blink-182 styled guitar intro welcomes a feeling of closure and acceptance, an end to a journey during the finale of The Waiting Room. While only a short release in general I’m Trying really brings the record to a close with its embracing lyrics and uplifting melodies that really help elevate the the final aspect of this record. Equally the feature from Sweep Echo conveys a new flavour of The Waiting Room that hasn’t been explored and the vocal delivery by Dan Holden is a really fitting choice, not only for the track itself, but the bands musical performances go hand in hand with Holdens stylistic approach. A record that pulls from all different scopes of the genre while never steering to far away, TWR is grounded but equally just as experimental and just as risk taking as you would want a record like this to be. If you’re a fan of pop punk at all, this is the band you need to checking out, All Systems Go are soon to be making huge waves in the scene. It is pop punk, and it is done the right way.
Words by Dylan Booker.