I’m a total sucker for melodic punk rock. When it comes to bands in that genre, it takes a lot to not sound painfully redundant. In a world where every melodic punk band sounds like Latterman, it is nice to get something that really doesn’t. Fuck, this record is great.
Signals Midwest play a great mix of indie, punk, and post-hardcore. Maybe throw in a bit of Midwestern emo for good measure. Latitudes And Longitudes mixes all those little sub-genres into a very cohesive record. This is a sophomore record that shits all over the idea of sophomore slump. It takes what the band had on Burn The Blueprints and adds some new dimensions. Instead of another straight forward pop punk type record, we get a record full of great hooks, great leads and solos, strong choruses, and some great gang vocals in places. I keep trying to think of a way to describe the music on this, and all I can think of is A Wilhelm Scream played through a filter of later era Hot Water Music. Even that description seems a little lacking.
This record has a central theme of motion. Be it leaving or staying. There is the underlying idea that you can’t leave everything behind, no matter how much you may want to. Rarely does this kind of record ever get that in depth on such topics. There is a high level of sincerity that shines through. On the theme of distance, this line is repeated throughout the record:
“I was counting the miles.
You were counting the days.
Ain’t it strange the numbers we wanted
were moving in opposite ways.”
The songs that most stand out to me are “I Was Lost” and “Limnology.” Also of note is the slower, acoustic song “January & Seven.” If anything, these songs define this record to me.
To make the long story short, this is a great piece of punk rock. It shows that you don’t have to stick to the stupid formula to make a great record. If more punk bands could be this sincere, maybe the genre wouldn’t seem like such a fucking joke.