These days, pop punk is usually a “you’ve heard one, you’ve heard it all” kind of scenario. There are only so many ways to describe a broken heart, a cheating devil woman, or a yearning to leave your hometown in search of more. Enter The Summer Set. On paper, they sound like every other poppy punk act you’ve heard in the past few years (Plain White T’s, specifically), but there’s something unique about their latest LP, Everything’s Fine. It’s variety.
For example, take the opening track, “About a Girl”. Very rarely will you see a disc start off with such a somber opening, especially when these youngsters from Arizona have relied on power chords in the past. The song starts on acoustic guitar before the rest of the band joins in, highlighting the production on this album. Had any other track been the opener, it could have mirrored plenty of other efforts from the same genre. Instead, this decision in sequencing catches the listener’s attention, and it helps that the song is one of the stronger inclusions on the album.
From there, it’s sort of a manic ride on the emotions. The band throws in the teenybop pop of “Someone Like You”, “Must Be the Music”, and “Thick As Thieves”. But also take a walk on the darker side, which actually produces the record’s highlights. “Back to the Start” and “Mannequin” both contain uplifting, inspirational choruses that will no doubt boost teen girls’ spirits.
With Everything’s Fine, The Summer Set offer enough of a glimpse to prove that they have just enough staying power to stick around. However, on the next effort, they’ll need to dig much deeper and continue to explore that darker side of theirs. Who knows, it might be fun for them.