Pop-punk is a genre typically at the top of my queue during any season of the year, but the crisp calling of fall and chill of winter is enough to get anyone to break out their beanies and black Vans and turn on some morbidly-upbeat anthems. Luckily, the boys in LunchBox Hero released their second EP just in time.
The pop-punk trio, originally from the beaches of Wilmington, NC, has been residing in Raleigh for over a year now. As they’ve jaunted from dive bars to basements and everything in between, LunchBox Hero’s playful stage presence has certainly won the hearts of many fans and the band’s second EP is reminiscent of the transformative period they’ve experienced.
Seeking peace of mind but also seeking to sort through conflicting feelings that prevent that very peace, the band traverses the unclear waters of change and transformation in Silver Linings. They establish control of their own world, reminding listeners to throw both approval and excuses in the trash. LunchBox Hero displays their newfound sound in an assortment of bouncing breakdowns and fast-paced lyrics that leave you with a sense of accomplishment. The album seems to never miss a beat between all the energy, with tracks For the Birds and Precarious reigning in an overwhelming sense of fun. Whether it’s embracing the happiness of a short-lived summer fling or chasing the dream everyone tells you is worthless, it’s almost as if the album is begging you to get up and go for it.
Utilizing melodic riffs and jumping drums, the band crashes into an atmosphere encapsulated by mid-2000’s powerhouses like blink-182 and Yellowcard. With some incredibly catchy guitar play throughout the four-song EP, LunchBox Hero brush on classic vibes of young love and careless passion with a mature approach. At its earliest conception, there were over 16 songs in mind for the follow-up record that the band meticulously groomed on the road before settling on the four that you can hear today. Through a major lineup change that brought in a new drummer, a move to a new city and over three years of writing, Silver Linings is all about finding the good in life.
After a blazing first half, the band slows it down with Access 43 and Blue Valentine to examine the challenging landscape of denial, acceptance and closure. I absolutely love the shift that the guitar rhythms take on in this half of the record and I think the band’s growth is clearly visible as the music closes out. The band made a point to structure songs with as many moving parts as possible, ditching traditional rhyme schemes and repeating verses.
It is a really fun album to listen to whether you are looking to roll your windows down and jam, move on from something in your life, or just to reflect. These tracks highlight the band’s honest approach at being venruable and real, which is fitting considering the EP was tracked in a bedroom turned studio. Overall, it’s a short and sweet listen that fits just about any mood. If you’re a fan of Tiny Moving Parts, blink-182, Neck Deep or any other kickass music, this record is for you.
I have had the pleasure of watching the band perform live and I can say Ben Ochoa (Guitarist/Vocalist), Gordie Howe (Drummer/Vocalist) and Will Merrill (Bassist/Vocalist) pack all these emotions and more into their energetic shows. Silver Linings is another great piece of alternative music coming from North Carolina’s scene and I highly recommend you catch these boys in a town near you to hear the songs live.
Album art by Peter Lutov