The Waiting Room
All Systems Go follow up their first LP Garden State Skies with a six song EP entitled The Waiting Room. Released at the end of December, the band had been working tirelessly to perfect this record and they have achieved that. This album is like a time machine. It brings that classic pop punk sound from the early 2000’s to a modern context. Their influences are very clear cut on this record.
The Story So Far
Right out of the gates, the sound of this record is really clean and polished. There are lush harmonies, full distorted guitars, powerful, upbeat drums and a deep underlying bass line that produces a great, full pop punk sound reminiscent of early Saves The Day, Yellowcard, and The Starting Line.
Tj Eckleburg Isn’t Even a Doctor
The second track shows the band’s heavier side. The track gives serious Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong vibes with the opening riff and overall feel of the first verse and chorus. This track also showcases the fact that All Systems Go have two very good voices in the band to take the lead song-to-song. After a short interlude through the middle of the song with tons of overlapping voices and chatter, the song comes back in with a soft verse that builds the tempo back up to a deafening scream of “I’ll never let it happen again!” over a nice heavy riff that mirrors the opening to close it out.
“Real” is a very different feel than the previous tracks. It takes the tempo way down and lets you breathe for just a bit. This song is very reminiscent of Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue era. Despite the slow down, this by no means that the band is just taking a break. There’s plenty of technicality left in their playing even for what one could call a pretty straightforward ballad. The drums create a great groove with a couple tempo changes between the different parts of the song. The slower tempo really sets the stage for the drums to show off a bit. That is, until the guitar solo comes in at the end of the song. With a little bit of acoustic slipped into the first bars of the last chorus, they ring it out one more time.
Speaking of acoustic, “Rom Com” is a nice quick departure from the overall louder collection of songs on this EP. The harmonies are really impressive on this track. The dynamic range of the vocals is really on display for this tune. The song closes out with almost a whisper and then you’re left with the sound of receding footsteps and a slamming door.
The Waiting Room
Did someone say departure? Because the title track of the record is a full on solo piano interlude. The track ties together nicely a lot of the melodic ideas put forth so far on the record. The piano is soaked in reverb and slightly modulated giving you the eery feeling of playing alone in a huge theater for only yourself to hear.
I’m Trying (feat. Sweep Echo)
The final track on the record features the vocals from another local band Sweep Echo. All Systems Go are back in full force on this track. The opening riff is very Blink with a clean bouncy repeating guitar riff leading into a gain-soaked octave climb to bring you into the chorus. “I’m still up to no good,/ Not living life like I should,/ As I try to break these habits,/ But why is it so damn hard?” The guest vocals come in light and build over a fast chugging guitar part. “She deserves the best,/ So much better than the rest,/ And that’s who I want to be,/ Guess I’ll have to wait and see”. Easily the most reflective piece on the record, “If I knew back then/ what I know now,/ I’d like to think/ it would change my life somehow.” After the final chorus, the opening riff comes in with a final repeat of the lines “If I knew back then/ what I know now” with a lo-fi vibe to finish out the album.