You, Me, And Everyone We Know

Dogged EP

Written by: TL on 22/03/2015 17:37:21

For the first four years of their existence, up to the release of their debut album "Some Things Don't Wash Out" in 2010, Washington D.C.'s You, Me, And Everyone We Know were a promising pop-punk project on the rise. Then they imploded, as everyone abandoned frontman Ben Liebsch amidst accusations of him having stolen money from the band to fuel abusive drinking habits. It serves to say Liebsch's career was in need of repair, yet he still managed to put out YMEWK EP's independently in both 2012, 2013 and 2014. "Dogged" continues this trend, except Liebsch now finds himself accompanied by a band again, and the group which once sounded like "Take This To Your Grave"-era Fall Out Boy now sounds more than ever like fellow songwriter/pop-punk groups like Say Anything, Weatherbox and The Front Bottoms.

Opener "Raise Them Bones" thus instantly rouses the listener's attention with a back and forth between Liebsch's ever more neurotic lyrical hooks trading blows with gang vocals from the rest of the band. "So if you're sitting up, holding your life's work in your hands and they're saying give it up..." it shouts, and you wonder what's next when it ends all too soon after less than a minute. Fortunately, "Does It Amaze Thee?" is right 'round the corner with four minutes of solid gold. "Does it amaze thee, that I can be this bend up and still thrive?" sings Liebsch, finding some measure of swagger at the bottom of an otherwise grimy, self-deprecating narrative, while both acoustic and electric get strummed frantically, lending drive to what is overall a super catchy song. The following "I'd Rather Be Sleeping" takes a more steady tempo and sounds like a mix of Pixies and Weezer for the effort. "Push the dirt on top of me, I'll be shooting shit with Mephistopheles" it sneers, though with a slightly less dynamic approach than the prior tune. "Eat My Hands" is otherwise instantly gratifying though, and there's something comical about the responses of some background-bro to the manically high strung singing verses Liebsch delivers here. "Finger food dude... Finger food."

Really though, the formula is the same, and it's mainly the tempo and the lyrics that make the songs stand apart. It's a mild critique, because the seven songs on the EP are invariably catchy, with strong hooks mindfully attached, but you could wish for a bit more creativity in the bridge sections or perhaps for some loopier curveballs even sooner in the songs, as Liebsch is definitely a strong enough storyteller to keep the listener attentive through more surprising structures than these. Armed to the teeth as he is though, with "words of mass distraction" and with an expressive singing style that's only gotten more interesting by growing less poppy and more gritty, the prodigal singer still delivers an EP in "Dogged" which is irresistibly entertaining. And much like its opening song, it ends much too soon, again leaving you wondering what's next for 'YMEWK'. If the new members can add more creativity to the song structures then there's hope that the group can perhaps carry on the torch for a while if Say Anything should eventually retire.


Download: Does It Amaze Thee, A Pleasant Bummer, Brooks Was Here, Galactus Eater Of Donuts
For The Fans Of: Say Anything, Weatherbox, The Front Bottoms, Forgive Durden

Release date 17.03.2015
South By Sea / Rude Records

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