Just Surrender – Stronger Now EP

Band: Just Surrender
Album: Stronger Now EP
Genre: Easy Core/Pop Punk
Label: Unsigned

1. Stronger Now
2. Crazy
3. I Can Barely Breathe [acoustic]
4. I Said it Before [remix]

You know what I always enjoy? When a band from your past comes flooding back and in good form as if they’ve not been anywhere since you last listened. Case in point – Just Surrender. I was first exposed to these guys about two years ago when they were opening for June when’s June’s first album was still fresh in our minds. I got into them for awhile and then their second release came out at a time when music of that genre wasn’t fitting me well so I didn’t really grasp onto it. However, now unsigned, but going strong, Just Surrender have returned with an EP that not only let’s us know they aren’t going anywhere, but leaves us salivating at the mouth for more.

“Stronger Now,” the first of two new songs on the EP hits hard and gloriously. From the fade in intro which turns to pulsing bass drum work and then accented notes throughout the verse, all accompanied by wonderfully produced vocals of Jason Mafucci and Dan Simons – it’s simply great. The track instantly makes this whole emo-rock genre feel fresh again and even hints a bit at Anberlin during their Never Take Friendship Personal era, but with a twist only Just Surrender could deliver. The song rings out like a battle cry for the band that says, “throw whatever you want at us, we can take it.” This in your face anthem is followed by the other new track entitled, “Crazy.” This one starts off a bit more relaxed and seems more focused on vocals than music structure and that’s A-OK by me because it’s catchy as any song can be. The dueling vocals and repetition of, “crazy,” in the chorus will pull in any music fan and the random moments of extra musical expression during the verses keeps us on our feet throughout. Steve Miller’s drum work is top notch here as he seems to really lead the listener on the roller coaster flow of the track with ease. If these songs are any sign of what is to come in the world of Just Surrender, I think any other band in this genre may be wise to take heed and prepare for this monster to be unleashed.

The EP doesn’t just leave us with some new songs, but rather gives us two alternate versions of classic JS songs to nibble on while we await more of the new noise we’ve just been given. First up, an acoustic rendition of,” I Can Barely Breathe.” This remodeled version sounds gorgeous and and plays out the way we all wish bigger bands that use dueling vocals [ahem: Taking Back Sunday] could sound. Just Surrender don’t just simply play the song with acoustic guitars, they use pianos and strings to really add more emotion and effect to the track and it succeeds quite well. The other song we’re given in alternate form is, “I Said It Before,” but instead of an acoustic track, we’re given a dance remix. Now, this one doesn’t really hit as tight as the other 3 tracks, but it’s obvious it was done for fun and I’m sure any die hard fans of the band will eat it up. For those of you not too familiar with the band, this track probably won’t do too much for you, but definitely check out the track in original form because it is a wonderful song.

Just Surrender is a band that cannot be stopped. After losing two members and the fact they’re no longer on a label, they still push on as a strong three piece and never look back. the Stronger Now EP stands as a clear example of their determination to keep going and showcases the results of all their work thus far in their career. I have no doubt that once this EP gets around, these guys will be on a label again in no time, but really, they don’t need it. This music sells itself and it should because it’s phenomenal. I applaud any band that can separate themselves from the emo rock scene and in Just Surrender’s case, I and the rest of UTG are giving a standing ovation. Keep it up boys, you’ve made us anxious for more.
*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 8.5/10

James Shotwell
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