Broadway Calls' “Open Letter”
October 23, 2012 - No Sleep
At first glance, Broadway Calls and Mixtapes don’t seem to have much in common. The former are from Oregon, the latter from Ohio. Both play what should loosely be termed pop-punk, but with an added gravitas that that, on occasion, that genre inherently precludes. Mixtapes are young–both as a band and as people–but their songs are nostalgic beyond their years, wide-eyed but riddled with melancholy. Broadway Calls, by comparison, are older and, naturally, more cynical, but they transform that skepticism into infectious rallying calls to storm the world with a youthful rush of passion. Mixtapes are ridiculously prolific, releasing scores of songs in their short time together; excluding this, Broadway Calls have put out just one EP in the last three years.
Despite these differences, the pair make near-perfect bedfellows, each getting two songs to show what they can do. Broadway Calls kick things off with “Open Letter,” an infectious, boisterous and deceptively poignant tune about the inevitability of life and death, love and heartbreak. “I can’t say no, although I can’t promise to save you,” proclaims frontman Ty Vaughn, “And if you slip under, I swear I always loved you back.” “You Got Me” ups the tempo further, with two-and-a-half minutes of melodic punk that recalls the blistering, blustering naiveté of early Green Day. Mixtapes take the challenge set by BC, though: Maura Weaver takes lead vocals on the group’s first song, “Little Miami,” a mid-tempo recollection of good days gone by that’s full of pathos, driven by the band’s infectious knack for melody. On “Puzzle Part 2 (I Don’t Believe In Ghosts),” the band return to both their trademark dual vocals–Ryan Rockwell getting back in on the action–and their usual lyrical themes of late nights spent with best friends in basements and backyards. As always, they manage to transcend saccharine cliché, instead perfectly capturing the transcendental, fragile nature of youth. At which point, it’s time to flip the record over and hand the baton back to Broadway Calls, to experience what happens once that youth has vanished. It’s a roller coaster that will last much longer than the combined 12 minutes of these four songs.