Single Review: Belmont - "Stay Up"
Pure Noise Records
Chicago’s always been a pop punk mecca, but there’s also always been a lot of innovation that’s gone against the grain of the stereotypical sound of the genre to incorporate splashes of metal, emo, and straight-ahead punk rock into its core. That’s what Belmont has been doing since they formed in 2014 and it’s a big part of what has landed this “pop-punk” band on the Billboard charts with their self-titled album in 2018. They now return with their brand-new single “Stay Up” and take a little bit of their past, combine it with the here and now, and deliver a song that is a clear definition of who they are as a band today! The guitar riffs pull you into the song with their catchiness first, before joining alongside the double bass of the drum’s rhythm to assault you as they slap you directly into the spitfire vocals. Lyrically, this examines the internal struggles we face when we become everything we never wanted to be; in this case, “a selfish friend.” Lead vocalist Taz Johnson utilizes his voice perfectly to wrap it around the spastic pace of the instrumentation and chaotically fill the depth of the lyrics as he sings of what he’s battling in his own head: “too busy losing my mind over thoughts of never finding home,” “Take a look around at what’s inside, before I tear it down in oversight,” and “I’ll pace around my head, these thoughts confined to a bitter place I can’t describe.” The bridge takes a very interesting turn that helps takes this song to an unpredictable level when it dips out of the spastic, in your face instrumentation, and for 5 seconds leans the vocals against the subtle piano backing to give this a momentarily different, unexpected feel that sits in the background through the end of the song. There’s a lot of good bands out there right now who are releasing quality music, but the ability to find your own unique sound, grow it to new heights, and still maintain a familiarity that allows your fans to easily digest your changes is no easy task - but that’s exactly what Belmont has just achieved with “Stay Up.”