I'll See You When I See You
Ohio pop-punk band Light Years is modest in approach, but garners attention for their commitment to simple catchy tunes. Sewn from similar cloth as contemporaries like Such Gold, the quartet makes for natural comparisons with some of pop-punk’s past trend setters; the likes of Yellowcard and Blink 182 are sure to pop to mind after tuning into their latest album, I’ll See You When I See You. Serving as their sophomore full length, the album sticks close to comfort with plenty of memories along the way, suggesting that Light Years have yet to reach their creative ceiling.
At its core, Light Years strives to burrow fiercely into your head with catchy earworms, yet does so with a laid back execution. Early on, tracks like “Are You Sure” establish a mid-tempo pop punk sentiment with choruses that pump the breaks and vocal harmonies that jump in and out between verses. Pat Kennedy offers pretty much what you’d want from a frontman drawing the bulk of his inspiration from the early 00’s. An inherent foundation of hook-heavy singable pop-punk shines through in songs like “Living In Hell” and “Accidents.” With encouraging results, runaway choruses fade between vague whispers of Blink 182 without letting a single decade define them.
Look no further than “The Summer She Broke My Heart” for a sample of Light Years’ foresight and restraint. Born of a sugary chorus line with a steady, uplifting pace, the song exemplifies the type of pop flavoured punk that with a few more layers of varnish might be classified as power-pop; but thanks to Light Years’ careful navigation of the genre, the band remains true to their mission. Lyrically, Light Years mirror such depth in “Cracks On The Ceiling.” “I’ve been feeling, a lot like the cracks in my ceiling, tired of being so defeated,” sings Kennedy with a subdued disposition in a passage that insightfully comes to terms with the life you need to lead rather than hanging onto the one you screwed up. Further strength resonates from each note’s carefully selected tonality projecting optimism in a defeatist world.
Also worth noting, a bit of the rawness seeps through on select songs circa the group’s forceful drumming. For instance, “Rearview’s” rapid pace is refreshingly relatable and a nice way to sidestep lining up with their overly polished peers. “Accidents” draws upon the same runaway choruses that fade in and out of a vague 90’s reference, and raising the tempo saves the day in few occasions such as on “So, Sorry,” which otherwise gets a little dreary in delivery.
Overall, I’ll See You When I See You serves as a formidable sophomore effort for Light Years. While the disc loses a bit of steam around the halfway mark, the band can’t be faulted for any decline in quality, but more of a recycling of sounds from the first half. That being said, the balance of 90’s and 00’s pop punk makes for a strong mission statement and execution. Light Years have yet to produce their magnum opus, but I’ll See You When I See You marks yet another commendable stepping stone along the way.