May 03, 2011 - Animal Style
Punk, especially in its post-millennial form, is as self-aware a genre as you're going to find, with the highest levels of authenticity reached by those bands that point their gaze as far into their navels as they can manage. That it does so over a bed of über-catchy melodies, driving guitars and hyperactive tempos only serves to make the sometimes-uncomfortable nature of the lyrics go down that much easier.
Cincinnati's Mixtapes have been no exception to this idea, using their jumpy, poppy attack to vent their collective spleen and open up old wounds for all to see. This is especially true on their new EP, Hope Is For People. This six-song collection arrives with the goal of piecing together for their fans about how hard it is to be creative and sensitive in an increasingly insensitive world.
Or as singer/guitarists Ryan Rockwell and Maura Weaver harmonize on the title track: "I close my eyes and ears when everyone talks/I guess we only live and hear about our shitty jobs/Each day we get more content...we used to dream and now it doesn't seem the same." The antidote: singing and playing guitar, no matter if success is right around the corner or if they fall flat on their faces. It's not the most original of messages, but this EP engages no matter what simply due to how plainspoken it is. Rockwell and Weaver cut straight to the point to make sure everyone can hear.
Musically, the band are in fine form throughout, mixing in touches of heartfelt acoustic balladry with their punchy rock. It doesn't subvert the formula, but that's hardly an issue. Mixtapes are a young band full of bilious energy and with aims towards bringing their equally young fans together in a raucous, joyous sing-along. You'd do well to join in.