Only Thieves pay homage to the Boss with their cover to Greeting from Levy Park, T.L.H., but the tribute doesnt stop at the artwork. From the get go of Hammered for the Holidays theres a clear striving toward outspoken, plainclothes guitarman at the center. However, theres a more of a band feel to it, and more Gaslight Anthem than Springsteen.
The record starts with frontman Jeremy Barnes strumming his guitar and singing into the mic in a conversational, beseeching Come on, come on, come on. The song is pretty straightforward guitar-driven rock with a few rhythm changes to guide Barnes inflection. He is a singer, not a vocalist, and its clear that hes comfortable standing front and center. Its an enjoyable song and a solid way to start of the EP. Three minutes later, as Barnes proclaims You got me all wrong, the song ends and the record begins to change, eschewing the tribute in favor of a more modern sound.
I Got Left Behind features a more prominent bass, interplaying with the guitar to create a sound fuller than youd expect of a three-piece. The song offers a danceable hook and emotional vocals softly over the top, but it doesnt grab attention the way the first song did. Its a blend of subdued indie rock over a power pop structure. Meanwhile, Watertower Scars and Does This Bus Stop at 8th Avenue? are reminiscent of late 90s emo, with Barnes adding a pleading tone to his delivery and lyrics about ill-fated love. Sandwiched in between is Ghosts in Your Room, which would fit comfortably on your local indie rock station. Its got a catchy structure, with dancey rock guitars and a repeated chorus that will etch itself in your brain if you keep it in the rotation. I should probably mention that this is the kind of radio station I avoid.
Over the five song EP, the only striking part is the first song, which sets a tone that the rest of the record cant maintain. The middle song, Watertower Scars, is really the definitive moment of the record, with its emo pleading over repetitive guitar. A their best, theyre an indie Springsteen imitation, but the majority of Greetings from Levy Park, T.L.H. is emo-influenced power pop.
4.5 / 10
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