Three years since “Downcast” released their self-titled Ep filled with upbeat and melancholy pop punk. The band is going for something even darker on their debut “I Saw Hell When I Was With You”
Album opener “Britannia mills” immediately pulls you in with its nostalgic feel and a subject matter revolving around regret. This can also be felt in the soft instrumentation, that flows out with the lyrics almost like more of an emotional rant.
Keeping with the exposed nerve of personal stories are “someplace safer” and “Catharsis” with the first focusing on seeing loved once’s struggle and the latter describing the protagonists struggles during a heavy relationship and wanting a way to leave it. All brought with the same belting vocals and immersive instrumentation.
The instrumentation gets more upbeat on “a weight that I can’t stand” which keeps with the emotional sides but a glimmer off hope seems to shine through the bittersweet lyrics.
On to one of my favorite tracks of the album “Hell” which seems to come straight from 2010. Lyrically the protagonist is reflecting on his past troubles, but he has overcome them. Instrumentally the song feels right at home in the sadboy era.
Staying with the old-school pop punk feel is “if u want 2” on which the band shows their 90 chops, and it feels right at home under some early 2000s teen movie. With that being said lyrically the song strikes a never, talking about getting broken down in a relationship and having old wounds being opened again, giving it an emotional undertone despite the hook on the chorus.
The theme of struggling loved once returns on “sylvan view” as does the nostalgic feeling, with the protagonist reminiscing of better times. “Mistakes that I have made” follows that same path of looking back, but instead on mistakes and how they still leave their scars.
“i want to love again” forms a hauntedly emotional closer for the album, with the protagonist looking back at his past relationship and wishing he could love again without getting hurt.
“I saw hell when I was with you” feels deeply personal and this is reflected mostly in the vocals. The instrumentation fittingly flows with every emotion on the record and consists of a mixed a series of influences form all different eras of pop punk.
Seeing a mix of influences doesn’t re-invent the formula, but that’s one of the things that makes that formula work and in this case it being executed to perfection or almost perfection, which only makes more excited for the future of Downcast.
Songs of “i saw hell when i was with you” you should check out!
“i want to love again”