Canadian, self-styled ‘folk punk’ duo Bad Friends With Black Cats wear their inspirations on their sleeve with unabashed affection, their love of American pop-punk bands like The Front Bottoms, PUP, and Mom Jeans informing the direction of new EP I Want To Move, beefing up their previously acoustic-centred material as heard on 2021’s Six Feet Deep with a glossy coating of radio-friendly rock that harkens to the ‘second wave of pop-punk’ that dominated the charts in the late 90s.

Priding themselves on pursuing a “raw intensity in new music” illustrates a fundamental lack of self-awareness throughout I Want To Move‘s six tracks. What fancies itself as a raucous assault of explosive confessionals and high-octane catharsis obliviously deals in tiresome, sanitised middle-of-the-road rock dripping with arrested development and shallow statements on the EP’s thematic examination of existential turmoil that singer Paul Harrison’s full-throated earnestness convinces itself is otherwise.

I Want To Move‘s opening title track establishes the bloodless arena-rock that the rest of the EP never deviates from. Formulaic traipses across American college rock that never excavate any grit or edge that their punk stylings should strive for, and the folk that’s supposedly featured throughout often merely serve as unimaginative intros or respites, as in ‘OK, Bye’, or just chugs along limply on the prosy ‘Corner in Your Basement’.

For an EP that’s attempting to explore the everyday miasma we’re all navigating, the soundtrack to songs of “selling your Xbox” or “screaming in my bed” undermines the sincerity of I Want To Move‘s subject matter, resulting in a bewildering and frustrating mix of half-baked lyrical peeves and tepid pop-rock.

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By mykct