Close But Not Quite – Who Said The West Was Dead

closebutnotquiteArtist: Close But Not Quite
Album:  Who Said The West Was Dead EP
Genre: Pop Rock/Hip Hop/Pop Punk
Label: Unsigned

We at UTG are often overloaded with emails from unsigned acts that are looking to get coverage on the site. Generally, I do my best to get as many of them onto UTG as possible, but, especially in the Summer months, the flood of mainstream releases prevents us from giving the underground a lot of attention. However, every now and then, a band comes along you just need to address and this time around that group is California’s Close But Not Quite. This hybrid pop punk meets hip hop acts feels like a younger, more fun oriented Street Sweeper Social Club that could easily play Warped Tour or the hip hop equivalent [if there is one]. 

I’m pretty sure no matter how big of a indie snob or hipster intellectual or blue collar Southerner you are, we all share one thing – a love of pop music. It may not be your favorite genre and you may never admit to listening to it, but we all have those moments when we hear something and we just can’t get it out of our heads. We find ourselves desperately scanning through our back catalog of Conor Oberst and Cap n’ Jazz in hopes to find something that will suppress this swell of good moods, attitudes, and bright colors, but we can’t because our souls yearn for pop music. We yearn to feel the cinematic like emotions displayed in pop songs and feel the youthfulness of young bands personified in ourselves. It’s not something anyone can help and if you doubt me, simply put on any song by Close But Not Quite.

Who Said The West Was Dead bursts out of the gates with the undeniably catchy, “Rules of The Game.” The track starts with prototypical pop punk until the vocals come in and we’re introduced to the true nature of CBNQ, the fusion of pop and hip hop with power chords and distortion. Substance wise, it’s not too much more than a song about coming up in the industry and not giving up. A very typical subject matter, but the unique sound of the group makes the average subject matter null in void, aka, it feels fresh.

As The EP continues, we’re given more and more of this fusion sound with different results each and every time. “Own Up,” uses staccato accented guitar work to accompany some great storytelling while the title track actually falls victim to simplicity. Now, I know, it’s an EP so any slip up will obviously affect the overall product, but this is a young band trying to create a new sound in a scene wrought with repetitive, uncreative music. So, if they slip up here and there while trying to achieve this new sound, I let it slip because I know the final product will be worth any amount of slip ups.

The other real track to look into on the album is “Eyein Me” which gives us a straight party in the form of a song. What begins as a slow, seemingly sentimental track bursts, almost without warning, into a full blown heavy tack filled with great lyrics, synth, and structure. This is the kind of song that makes a band’s career. No doubt about it, this is the one to keep your eyes on. However, the following track, “Nights Like This” really gives the group a nice closing remark. Personally, I feel the lyrics are a bit weaker here than elsewhere on the EP, but it’s the most advanced musically and shows us there is more than a gimmick here, there are musicians.

Ever since Myspace became the hub for everyone who wants a record deal, the ability to find real talent has gotten harder and harder as wannabes have flooded the market with their Garageband produced garbage. However, even the first time I heard Close But Not Quite, I knew they had something to offer. Who Said The West Was Dead is a brilliant and catchy display of pop punk and hip hop fusion at its best. I have no doubt in my mind that by this time next year, Close But Not Quite will be the name on everyone’s lips. So get on board the bandwagon now, seats are filling up fast!

Score: 8.5/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.

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