My first reaction upon listening to Agree to Disagree was “This band is adorable.” You have to understand that I grew up listening to bands like Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 when they were still back in their angsty, punk stages before they became more pop. I also grew up listening to bands like Four Year Strong so imagine my joy upon listening to a band that combines that angsty pop punk sound with chugging melodic riffs of Four Year Strong.
If you grew up during the pop punk era – mid to late 2000s- then Agree to Disagree’s debut If You Think We Suck Now, Just Wait Till We Sell Out will be like a nostalgic trip down memory lane for you. Filled it with raw angst and shout-along (or sing-along depending on how energetic you are) pop punk anthems that remind one of Fall Out Boy’s From Under The Cork Tree, Green Day’s Dookie, Blink 182’s Enema of the State and Four Year Strong’s Rise or Die Trying. All put together into one tasteful package that comes with long, nonsensical song names as well.
From the opening chords of “Stoop Kid’s Afraid to Leave His Stoop” to the final chugging riffs of “These Kids Think They’re Bulletproof”. This album has something for everybody, whether you like raw pop punk or hardcore songs peppered with melody and catchy hooks. “Stoop Kid’s Afraid to Leave His Stoop” opens with jangling chords before launching angry four chord riffs that thunder away beneath raw vocals and alongside energetic drumming. It is truly a throwback to that pop punk noise that I grew up on, before it became more about the pop than the punk.
Hardcore fans will be happy to hear songs like “Life’s Tough, So Get Helmet” where Agree to Disagree throws hardcore-styled chanting and shouting into a raw pop punk anthem. Other songs are also peppered with hardcore styled guitar riffs and breakdowns which punctuates the electrifying energy of the band. “Frame Of My Mind” sees the band engaging in vocal harmonies as the unclean hardcore vocals are thrown in behind the normal clean vocals. “Silver Snakes Just Can’t Win” makes you feel like Dookie and Enema of the State was thrown together and then some guitar solos were added as well. “The Basement Song (Havoc)” lives up to its name and feels like a song you’d hear at some basement show where a cloud of smoke clouds your view of the band and arms are failing all about it. It is that quintessential blend of raw energy, shouting and pure insanity. “I’m Wearing a Top Hat (England)” is a hardcore song through and through packed with shouting, harsh vocals and thundering guitar riffs. They even that quintessential acoustic song that no self-respecting pop punk band would go without.
Lyrically, Agree to Disagree play the angsy teenager card and have written typical songs about lost love, life being shitty, the past and wanting to leave their hometown. You may stop and say “Well isn’t that horribly clichéd? We all know that you hate clichés.” It is clichéd, if you try and do it a way that sounds all clean and well-produced. Agree to Disagree instead thunders out of your speakers like some unruly garage band, devoid of any vocal mastering or any production at all. It feels like everything was recorded live so it has a raw value to it. Songs about life being shitty were meant to be chanted at the top of the singer’s lungs and not made to sound like pubescent boy was whining about the days gone by. Pop punk used to be about unkempt anger and emotion and not refined and controlled sound.
Agree to Disagree is a nostalgic band. They’re a band that missed their time to shine by a few years. Despite this, there is a chance that they can capture the heart of pop punk fans, or any fans in general, with their catchy hooks, chant-along anthems, heartfelt lyrics and an aura of being genuine. Plus, who doesn’t want to be able to shout the chorus of a song about some girl (or boy) who hurt them at the top of their lungs?