Hot off the self-titled release that had the pop-punk community buzzing more than they usually do, Pentimento have already given us a follow-up in the form of Inside the Sea, a four-track EP about growth, identity, love, anger, and everything in between. While Pentimento was an album about life’s other people, Inside the Sea tackles the inner workings of the self with soaring vocals, rapid-fire drums, and well-executed, semi-existential lyrics from drummer Mike Hansen that would make Chris Conley give a thumbs-up.
The EP opens with “Not So Young”, a track in which vocalist/guitarist Jeramiah Pauly asks: “Is this all I am?/Is this everything that I am meant to be?” He radiates on past mistakes and the everlasting effects that we as human beings put on them ourselves. The following track “Just Friends” is a look into a relationship that sadly never left the dock. The song carries the theme of dealing with what’s given rather than waiting for what’s wanted. “We’re just friends ’cause that seems to be what makes sense./Too bad it’s all we’ll ever have.” At the tail end of the track, we’re graced with excellent gang vocals (a trend I’ve personally grown tired of, this being an exception) and Pauly’s vocal high-point of the EP.
The first taste of Inside the Sea came with “Any Minute Now…”, a track that could have been included in the band’s debut record. This song is the catalyst for the realization that the band have gone back to their roots and inspirations for this release. The songs bleed through with classic Jimmy Eat World, Brand New, and even a dash of Jawbreaker. Having had this realization, it was inevitable that the EP’s peak would take place within the final track, titled “It’s Okay”. Lyrically, this track finds Hansen at a dark place: “I hate myself/I hate my friends/So fucking what?” While it seems that this is just a pile-driven assault on himself, he makes it clear that acceptance has creeped its way through the self-loathing, which is enough progress even for the saddest lyricists who came before him. After being taken on a emotional tilt-a-whirl, we’re reminded that “It’s okay/Not forever/Just for now”, and that’s perfectly fine.
Inside the Sea lives up to its name. The ocean’s current can be calm or torrential, just like the human psyche. Pentimento have clung to this metaphorical subject for the past year and this EP is a welcome reminder as to why they even bothered to do so in the first place.
Inside the Sea is available now via Paper + Plastick.