The beginning of a new year means many things, but one thing that seems to happen more often than not is a drought of great entertainment in all forms. While this is due to the holidays ending and a rush to get everything out before the end of the year, it leaves a pretty big void in the first month or two. In my mind this has always been the perfect slot for smaller, less “heavy-weight” like things to be released – giving a chance to the smaller, less well-established creatives to make their mark on the world. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting and studio on-goings, Sacramento, CA post-hardcore outfit Me Vs. You have taken it upon themselves to take advantage of this lull and released their debut EP, Where You Belong on February 15th. They started the hype train with a teaser of the EP, but the big question remains – how will it stand out from the pack?
Where You Belong starts off with a beautifully crafted 1-minute opener called “The Weight” that has two purposes; first, it is an extended intro into the first full length track “Heavy Heart” and secondly, it sets up the basis for the message and sound you’re about to experience that the 4 full-length tracks on this EP will provide. As it transitions flawlessly into “Heavy Heart”, the band takes it up another notch and you’ll instantly catch yourself wanting to jam along. One of the things that stood out most to me upon first listen was a remarkable similarity to two other well-known California bands in the post hardcore scene. The combination of poppy, energetic instrumentation in the vein of Incredible’ Me and the lyrical, vocal style of lead vocalist Jeremy Mertz sounding strikingly similar to Bryce Beckley of Heartist fame.
The “Where You Belong EP” played all way the way through.
The remaining tracks continue in the same style as the first; full of high energy, catchy and memorable lyrics and sing-a-long choruses. Every time “Where You Belong” came on, I kept catching myself singing along and jamming out – something I tend to enjoy greatly. “Free Again” is perhaps the heaviest track on the EP; with a slightly more aggressive sound including a large usage of harsh vocals compared to the other tracks. The brilliant thing about Me Vs. You are how they incorporate a heavier sound while continuing the poppy, energetic musical style throughout so it never feels like you’re listening to another band or they’re straying from the sound they’ve created for themselves. Lastly, ”Lost At Sea” is a fitting closer – featuring intense drumming, great guitar riffs and carefully crafted electronics in the intro and outro to end the EP on a high note.
Overall, Where You Belong is not what I was expecting; it’s better than I could have imagined. I went in as simply a fan hoping to hear something good and enjoyable, and came out with a new, replay-able EP that will slide into a coveted, permanent spot in my music library and rotation. When the band self describes their genre as energetic, melodic rock, they hit the nail on the head. Offering up a poppier and similar yet refined style to the post hardcore genre not only sets them apart, but makes them a must hear. This is one band you will not want to sleep on and no doubt has big things in store for their future.