Band: Red Light Sky
Album: Red Light Sky
Label: Moxie Star
Rating: 3 out of 5
By Aaron Binder
Let’s talk about Plain White T’s for a moment.
They play a song called Delilah.
Okay, now that the moment is over, let’s never talk about Plain White T’s ever again.
Let us, alternatively, discuss pop-punk music for a few moments. Pop-punk gained a lot of popularity during the mid to late 90’s, bands like NOFX, Green Day and The Offspring became megalithic in size and scope, infiltrating the consciousness of pop-culture…and Pauly Shore films. Thanks to this, labels prospered and hired a bunch of similar bands that were able to ride the train to Modestsuccessville in many cases.
Jump forward to 2010 and pop-punk is still doing pretty well. It has shifted to more of an emo sound (We the Kings, Cute is What we Aim For, etc) but there are still bands out there still playing 90’s inspired pop-punk; Red Light Sky is one of those bands.
It is tough to create something truly fresh in a genre that really doesn’t afford much exploration outside of fast song, slightly slower song with big hook in the chorus and song with cool sounding gang vocals. In fact, it’s just tough enough in the genre to create something that doesn’t just seem like another wave out of thousands slapping against Pop-Punk beach.
Red Light Sky’s self-titled EP does make strides to differentiate itself from the rest of the sea. They have a refined and practiced sound, stick to a message and their lyrics are strong. There are many shades of influence in the band and if you listen close enough you can hear that Red Light Sky has enough writing skill to borrow time tested techniques from the genre but still inject enough of their own personality into the songs to make them their own.
Where they do falter is in the length and structure of most songs on the EP. The songs, when taken as clips and snippets, are great. Unfortunately the band and producer didn’t get the memo that short and sweet can be more effective than full 4 1/2 minute songs. You may find yourself listening intently for the first half of a track and then tuning out once the patterns in the song keep repeating. This is one of the most difficult parts of writing a song, especially when a band is new, luckily for Red Light Sky their songs are written well enough that this isn’t a reason to tune out completely.
The best part of the EP is definitely the soaring guitars, they are thick and powerful, the perfect contrast to vocalist Matt Koruba’s bubblegum vocals. The band works well together and they have managed to build a good template for themselves.
Red Light Sky has managed to piece together a good album here, not great, but good enough to give themselves an edge in the ever competitive pop-punk scene. If they can manage to work some less conventional themes and techniques into their songs they will definitely have a chance to become a tsunami force in the ocean of pop-punk.
Here’s a decent live video of them at the Roxy: