California-based emo band Old Notes released their impressive debut Former Self in August shortly after forming. On the EP the trio marries elements from pop-punk and emo with ambient and math rock. Vocalist Devin Trott takes influence from Midwestern emo groups while penning his intimate, honest lyrics, while also utilizing an impressive scream similar to contemporary screamo acts like Pianos Become The Teeth and Old Gray. Opening track “Urn” sets the tone for the record starting off with gentle, twinkling guitars and somber vocals before the band joins Trott with wailing guitars and roaring drums.
The album’s lush guitar tones remind of The Hotelier’s most recent release Goodness, but with more intricate math rock riffs. The heart of the songs lies in Trott’s introspective and honest lyricism that connects each song to one another. It’s an impressively cohesive and genuine debut from a young band with a knack for crafting enjoyable melodies and different sounds that make each track stand out from the rest. Drummer Eli Martinez is one of my favorite parts of the album; his drumming provides a solid foundation for Trott’s emotional self-reflections. Check out Former Self below, and if you like what you hear you can purchase the album on Old Notes’ bandcamp page!