Van Atta High – Doin’ Something Right

Artist: Van Atta High m36337dz5c6
Album: Doin Something Right
Genre: Pop Punk
Label: Thriving

1. Doin Something Right
2. Birthday Girl
3. Shakin In My Shoes
4. Hush Baby
5. Call Me Jersey
6. Afternoon Delight
7. Just Live [Live]
8. Call Me Jersey [Live]
9. Throw Away Heart [Live]

The first new band on the pop punk scene of the year [to me anyways] is here and bringing a lot of youthful passion with them. Van Atta High, every scene girl’s dream [swoopy bangs, yet still presentable to mom and dad], have arrived to take over All Time Low’s crown, or so it appears. This EP [the one most would assume got them signed], Doin Something Right, is chock full of hooks, harmonies, and most of all, fun.

Kicking things off with the track that shares the albums title, sunshine is laced in every note. There’s an edgier take on All Time Low found from the get go, but with a bit more technical style pop rock. However, once the chorus comes in, it’s all about the one and two. It’s a solid start, but nothing to send this band to the top of the charts. However, “Birthday Girl,” the second track, is a star maker for sure. Through mixing synth into the pop mix to kick things off to the accented verses and instantly memorable chorus, this song has hit written all over it. There’s nothing here in terms of new ground per say, but VAH certainly takes command of their sound on this track. Not to make another ATL reference, but this is VAH’s “Jasey Rae.” “Shakin In My Shoes,” continues the pop sound, but with more piano work and a bit more of a laid back sound from the get go. I guess some may take this to be the ballad, but it’s still pretty quick paced. Some good ocal layers, but not much else to remember.
“Hush Baby,” the fourth track, is a complete rocker from the get go. There’s no build up, just straight energy that grabs you and refuses to let go. It’s also one of the best lyrically developed track VAH has to offer thus far in their career. The hook is here, but so is some well thought out lines in the verses. For the first time, I feel the band focused on the track as a whole rather than racing to the hook. The band continues this great turn with, “Call Me Jersey,” which is easily the standout on the whole record. I’m not talking single [though it would work], but the best song Van Atta gives us. The vocal layers along with accentuated riffs really gives this song something that you’ll carry with you long after that track ends.
This, to me, concludes the EP as it’s the last of the fully fleshed out, original tracks from the band. Though, there is more on the disc. First up, a cover of, “Afternoon Delight,” which was made popular by Wil Ferrel in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Teens will surely eat this up, but I don’t think there’s much lasting value to it as the film itself even grew old after a couple viewings. This then leaves us with the live and acoustic tracks. We get two tracks not featured earlier on this dic, but these tracks, whether new or old, don’t seem to hold a candle to to the fleshed out ones from previous track numbers. The same goes for the acoustic, “Call Me Jersey,” it just doesn’t work well. I mean, the voices are fine, but it’s too early for this band to start giving us acoustic musings. People need to know you a bit better first.
I think Van Atta High have quite a future, but with a 9 track EP, you may have to dig to find the light. There’s nothing terrible here, but what we get is a mixed bag of great gems and mediocre pop punk. I feel like, with more time, this band could take over the scene, but that’s up to them and them alone. Good luck guys. You have the parts, but can you make them fit?
*Written By: James Shotwell*
Score: 7/10

James Shotwell
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