Telltale - Timeless Youth EP Review
Telltale Set Out to Hold Onto Their “Timeless Youth” With New EP Release
Occasionally we all find ourselves longing for days of old, our current struggles giving way to the nostalgia of simpler times and the spirit of our youth. On their newest EP (and SharpTone Records debut) “Timeless Youth,” Telltale set out to give a gateway to those times while also tackling the inevitable growing pains and self-discovery that come with a few more laps around the sun. The four-piece pop punk band from Richmond, VA have put together a masterfully crafted emotional roller coaster that perfectly reflects the ups and downs in coming of age. From upbeat party anthems to introspective and vulnerable exhibitions of emotion, this EP has something for everyone and is sure to please a wide variety of listeners.
As a follow up to their first EP, “Good Intentions,” this release is a step towards a more mature and focused sound for the band. There’s less weight to the sound and has a youthful spirit to it (no pun intended). The drums, courtesy of Travis Slack, are tight and punchy. Bryce Marshall’s guitar riffs are clear and articulate with an almost percussive element as well, backed up by bassist Tim Fogg. Frontman John Carter takes a considerable step forward as well, both lyrically and vocally, with a collection of songs that cover a range of emotions and from light-hearted to dark and contemplative. And all of this is accomplished without the band abandoning the sound they established on their first release and what caught the attention of the scene in the first place - a musical tightrope act that they seem to have executed with ease.
The EP kicks off with the title track and first single, “Timeless Youth,” and does so at a lightning pace. A song dripping with disdain for the idea of growing up and leaving behind the things that keep us young, this track is sure to inspire circle pits at any venue that the band finds their way into. The blistering drums during the verse give way to an incredibly catchy chorus with great singalong potential in a live setting. This track makes for a fantastic opening to set the tone for the rest of the EP.
Next up is the band’s second single from this release, “Bouquet,” a beautiful juxtaposition of upbeat musical styling and brooding contemplative lyrics that is reminiscent of many of the great bands in this era’s pop punk renaissance. A vulnerable exploration of self-worth and self-image, John Carter’s lyrics weave together a lesson of acceptance in spite of your faults. This track proves to be an inspiring and comforting take on an issue that is all too common in today’s society.
An ode to the road, the EP continues with the feel-good track “What We Live For.” Here, Telltale takes a moment to acknowledge their love for touring and the journeys the band’s success has taken them on thus far. In an expression of youthful defiance, Carter opens the second verse with the declaration “I could never buy into your 9 to 5,” making it abundantly clear that the music, the experiences, and the connection to the fans will continue to drive the band forward and keep them alive. This song will definitely prove to be a treat in a live setting, with the perfect tempo and energy to have fans jumping around and dancing each and every night.
The closest thing to a ballad that we see on this release is track number four, “Letting Go.” Telling the all-too-familiar tale of a relationship falling apart under the weight of personal shortcomings, this song is almost universally sure to connect with listeners. The emotional resignation that letting go is the only way to handle the situation is punctuated by rhythmic, driving guitar and almost melodic percussion use throughout the song. Another catchy chorus with great singalong potential, this song could definitely become a heavy hitter in the band’s live set rotation.
On my first listen through this EP, “Dazy” was instantly a standout track. With great energy and a tight, punchy guitar riff supported by yet another masterful drum performance, this song reminds me heavily of some of my favorite bands in the pop punk scene over the years, namely older All Time Low and State Champs. Masked as a party-hard anthem, on a second listen this song seems to be a lighthearted jab at the “locals” you find in every town; the ones with nothing better to do than waste away in the routine escapes, going to the same bars with the same people all the while complaining that their life isn’t fulfilling. The band seems to want to defy this themselves and this song is a call to action for listeners to strive for more out of their own lives. A solid addition to this EP, for sure, and another song with great live show potential.
The EP’s penultimate track, “Rose,” takes the listener for another introspective turn. In this song, Carter’s lyrics lay it all out on the table. He is putting his faults on display as if trying to warn the recipient of his shortcomings. In the track’s chorus, he spells this out in the line “you should know by now that I’m a red flag through a rose lens,” essentially telling the listener to not let their affection get in the way of recognizing his faults. Sonically, the song keeps the listener off balance alternating between ambient, droning guitar chords and a driving rhythmic chorus before concluding with a very pop punk breakdown to carry the song out. A standout track for me, and yet another with fantastic live reception.
The EP comes to a close with “Herditary,” a song that covers the darkest thematic material of the whole release. Struggles with mental health are a common talking point in the pop punk scene, but Telltale take a different angle with this track. The lyrics reflect on how such issues can actually permeate throughout a family and take an entirely different toll on the family unit when they manifest in certain ways. A thought-provoking and highly emotional song, “Hereditary” is a shining example of Telltale’s emotional depth but also their musical versatility. This track is very different from the rest of the EP, but all the while maintains the sound that the band has forged with this new release.
As Telltale embarks into a new era for the band on the back of “Timeless Youth,” the future looks bright. Armed with material that is live-ready and a determination to make the most of the youth they still have, the up-and-comers from Richmond, VA are sure to make waves with this release. If you’re a fan of the new era of pop punk and crave the nostalgia-drenched days of your youth, then this Telltale EP is a must-listen.
Check out “Timeless Youth” by Telltale now at the link below!