Pop-punk is kind of like a miniature Baskin Robbins – while there are many varieties to what we can call pop-punk, there are subtle differences that separate bands from one another at times. Whether it be the grittier punk roots or the arena-ready choruses, there’s plenty to find enjoyable about a genre seemingly rooted in perseverance and personal bonds. Save Your Breath is a band on the cusp of many gambles in their sound, both embodying the frantic flare of more aggressive bands in the genre without sacrificing their sound for something that is often catchy and accessible by those who are down with bigger, poppier acts of the genre. The band’s newest effort, There Used to Be a Place for Us, is a proper marriage of ideas that are bouncy, engaging and often memorable through eleven tracks of power-chords and a proof of growth from the U.K.-based outfit.
To best describe this record would involve a lot of comparisons to bands already treading on the bigger, brighter path to pop-punk stardom. You can hear thoughts of bands from Living With Lions to new-era Hit the Lights through the record, whether it be the restrained, but powerful “Harrow Road” or the melodically slathered “Find a Way”. In reality, the lighter, less punching moments of There Used to Be a Place for Us aren’t exactly treading new ground, but Save Your Breath pulls it off quite well when sandwiched between barn-burning moments like “Whole” or “Touchpaper”. The price of perhaps not really forging new ground doesn’t hurt the likability of these tracks though, as much of this record benefits from some breathing room to let the vocals and huge guitars take hold of your ears.
But where even HTL’s Invicta sputtered as they aimed for much bigger sounds, Save Your Breath doesn’t lose the intimacy and earnest nature of pop-punk in the process of growing as songwriters. Sure, the title track probably won’t find its way onto any set lists as it would have clunked its way into anywhere but the beginning or end of this tracklist – safe to say, it’s a somewhat anti-climactic, but it doesn’t hinder the momentum of the record either, considering that it ends the record. But in other moments where the band teases between easing up and baring down on their guitars, the transitions feel very natural and beneficial to the overall purpose of these songs – finding common meaning and understanding in everyday life.
There Used to Be a Place for Us further illustrates the often-considered notion that you don’t have to anyways re-invent the wheel – you just have to know how to use it better than most folks. In this sense, Save Your Breath’s new LP is a refreshing run of pop-punk that treads heavily on melody and light on any sort of gimmick. While it isn’t flashy or particularly bold, Save Your Breath shows that honesty and determination can certainly go a long way.