Splits are one of the best parts of being a music lover. In all honesty, the only way I could be more excited about two bands getting together to release music under presumably the same flag would be being in a band that had the opportunity to put out a split. They certainly come about for a number of reasons, but Broadway Calls’ signing to No Sleep Records made them a prime candidate for a new release as soon as the announcement was made. Enter the lovable punks of Mixtapes and you have what would be a reasonably comfortable meeting of punk aesthetics and upbeat riffs that make Vision Quest a solid addition to both bands’ catalogs.
The front half puts two songs from Broadway Calls on tap, with the opening track “Open Letter” bursting with punching guitars and a slight rasp in the driving vocals. It honestly sounds like a song Green Day should be writing to be truthful, and neither should feel bad about that comparison, as it is the best first impression Broadway Calls could make on this split. Their b-side “You Got Me” takes a slightly different direction, holding back the reins a bit without ditching the dynamics or the huge vocal melodies as the band pens a damn catchy chorus on this one. It’s reassuring to hear the types of things we have in store for a new LP from these guys, especially considering their last full-length Good Views, Bad News certainly had some staying power despite being released in 2009.
Mixtapes on the other hand, fresh off their debut full-length Even on the Worst Nights, arguably have the short end of the stick on this split. Not to say their two tracks, “Little Miami” and “Puzzle Part 2,” don’t meld right into the upbeat, double-barreled vocal pop-punk they’re known for, but in all honesty, these two tracks seem a bit held back at times in comparison to some of the tracks they’ve done before. “Little Miami” rides a pretty straightforward chord progression and hammering toms before subsiding into mid-tempo, almost ballad territory, while “Puzzle Part 2” is reasonably penned with a similar sonic approach that is steeped in some fun back-and-forth – and dual – vocal lines. To be honest, the best part of their side of the split is the acoustic-tinged section ending “Puzzle,” as it sounds just as honest and endearing without dropping the catchy, tongue-in-cheek of the band. If you’re a huge Mixtapes fan, consider this a bit more of the same, but these aren’t tracks I’d show someone if I was trying to turn them on to the band.
But much like any split, the combination of both bands makes for something that is fun and perhaps not too serious considering the lyrical content and generally raucous nature of both bands. If anything, count this up as another solid addition not only for the bands, but to the No Sleep catalog, as both Broadway Calls and Mixtapes prove what it is we enjoy about them – and that they won’t be straying too far from that anytime soon.