Action/Adventure – Pulling Focus
Released: April 30, 2021
Blake Evaristo // lead vocals
Brompton Jackson // vocals/guitar
Manny Avila // bass
Oren Trace // guitar
Adrian Brown // drums
It’s no secret that I’ve had my eyes on the Chicago music scene for awhile now. Although I’m in Australia and international borders are a bust right now, I can just feel the strong musical presence from the midwest US city when it is home to the likes of Fall Out Boy, Knuckle Puck, Real Friends and Belmont. Rising up and joining the ranks is Action/Adventure and from first listen of their debut EP on Pure Noise Records, Pulling Focus, this is the band that’s been missing in our lives all this time.
Kicking off Pulling Focus is the short but fast ‘Barricades’. Leading in with the line, “Would you listen if we looked any different? Cause these are all the things that we can’t change” is the band’s confidence in their mission to make their music as inclusive as possible (the guys all affiliate themselves with the BIPOC label, fyi). I can absolutely see #PopPunkinColor being as big a movement as Man Overboard’s Defend Pop Punk back in the day as well as everyone’s favourite/New Found Glory-led #PopPunksNotDead. The song ends as quickly as it starts before jumping straight into ‘Poser’, the band’s leading single from this musical number. Tying together sweet pop punk melodies and chaotic riffs akin to that of fellow labelmates Four Year Strong and State Champs, ‘Poser’ is an excitement and a half and still stands as one of the best pop punk anthems released this year. This track is huge.
‘Club 27’ continues that high energy punk attitude, its infectious energy storming today’s pop punk scene in all its glory. The track explores feelings of longevity and “dying out”, diving into one’s own insecurities and amidst those insane breakdowns is an anthem for anyone that needs to hear it. Vocalist Blake Evaristo echoes a style that combines the best of the 2000s and 2010s like no one has done in a long time and damn, it kinda just makes you wanna sing along. In an attempt to slow the pace a little, Action/Adventure stay true to their brand and continues the high energy, fast paced action in ‘Semi-Prologue’. Drummer Adrian Brown is on fire, igniting the tune to its full potential.
This quintet are on the verge of world domination here, and don’t expect to catch a breath anytime soon. ‘Tuck Everlasting’ will continue to pique your interest, particularly if you thrive on living for your youth. The song reels in firey pop melodies and boisterous energy while “running on fumes from the past five years” trying to “find the fountain of youth”. The nostalgic vibes are alive, and this song really did resonate with me most. It’s wild how these boys know how to get inside of my head! “Anxious but optimistic” is definitely something that runs through my mind daily.
The mosh-heavy ‘Nothing Left’ will entice fans of Four Year Strong and New Found Glory with that mosh-heavy influence, while also pulling at our more youthful selves and inner vulnerabilities. Featuring a bouncy as fuck chorus, this track will have you going about your day until you just can’t. Saving the best for last, title track ‘Pulling Focus’ is the pop punk anthem we all need in our lives right now. Melodic guitar riffs alight (and throwbacks to Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree), this track ignites our inner passion with such enthusiasm. That bridge leading into the craziest breakdown I’ve heard in years will have you running to the nearest festival gates (or clicking ‘buy’ to that gig you’ve been sitting on all week). They nailed this track hard and I can’t wait to see what else they’ve got hidden up their sleeve.
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard a solid record front-to-back, but Action/Adventure have done it. These Chicago upstarts have put their own catchy spin on pop punk whilst exceeding everyone’s expectations at the same time. Each song on Pulling Focus stands so well up against each other and I can’t actually fault one song on this EP except that it needs three or four more songs to make it an album. Action/Adventure are the real MVPs right now, get amongst them!
Action/Adventure – Pulling Focus EP tracklisting:
3. Club 27
5. Tuck Everlasting
6. Nothing Left
7. Pulling Focus