Punk and it’s subgenres sometimes struggle with a bad reputation, one of a dead genre desperately clinging on to a bygone era with recycled sounds and themes over the jangling sound of a few perpetually cycling chords. The Squints, a project by Austin Marsh turns this stereotype on its head. Marsh knows exactly what emo-punk fans want and gives them a whole lot more. Squints have a crushing sound made of dirty overdriven guitar and slamming drums. Every echoing vocal line is crisp and clean ringing out loud over the gritty riffs with all the passion and assurance of an artist on a mission.
Grappling with the nuances of its genre blend, the Squints weave in and out of the driving core rhythm, of the single “With all you’ve been through”. The vocals swell and flow while the lyricism itself is strong. Austin Marsh’s vocal emotion wrestles with the aggression and gut of the beat. Its these easily apparent traits, that keep the genre alive and kicking.
So contagious is every one of Austin Marsh’s mellifluous lines that he seems to have an ability to create verses that sound as infectious as choruses would. The quality of the production on “With all you’ve been through” only increases this effect, as the vocals are clear and pushed to the forefront with a well-earned confidence while the thrusting and overlapping riffs and drumbeats remain just a fraction behind.
The pace of “With all you’ve been through” is steady but relentless, a combination of grit and melody, while Austin Marsh’s delivery is more loose and lends a sense of freedom and vibrancy on the mic. Behind the expected bombast is a surprising finesse and sense of maturity, in both the songwriting and the instrumentation. The incessant drums also gives more credence to the project. The timing, precision and fluidity complement the music so well.
Talent and production go a long way in making music, but authenticity is the most essential component in creating this art form. Authenticity allows listeners to connect with the music on a level beyond simple appreciation of talent. Squints’ sound is exactly that., as they don’t pander to the pop approach on “With all you’ve been through”. Even though the vocal hooks are catchy, the music hits like a ton of bricks.
The single, “With all you’ve been through”, produces a genuine and crushing alternative rock vibe, building a distinct image of what you would expect a longer-established project to sound like. The song proves that Squints has found a way to indulge modern emo-punk fans with a heavy abrasive soundscape, topped with melodic vocals.
Austin Marsh has set himself the challenge of walking a tightrope, between sweet sounding melodies, and the thunder of the guitars. Squints ultimately leaves you no choice but to sink beneath the weight of its beautiful noise.
Combining every defining element of its sound, Squints produce something incredibly impacting on the track, “With all you’ve been through”, that will leave fans of the genre positively satisfied with what they’ve heard, and wanting more.