Let’s get down to brass tacks. I grew up in a time when melodic hardcore, of the Epitaph/Fat Wreck variety, was the most popular kind of punk rock. Nostalgia all but guarantees that I get stoked on that kind of stuff. This is probably common of a lot of genre fans, especially if you are of a certain age. That being said, Great Lakes USA is 100% my shit.
Great Lakes USA is a band that is very much in line with the early/mid 2000s variety of melodic hardcore. There are a lot of similarities to bands like Strike Anywhere, A Wilhelm Scream, None More Black, and Defeater.The guitars are driving, the vocals are aggressive, and the harmonies are right on point. They’re definitely using a lot of genre tropes, but goddamn, it still sounds fresh.
Stumbling Distance is a hell of an EP. It’s high energy right from the get-go. “The Best Band At O’Brien’s” is a perfect opener. It lets you know exactly what is coming for the next 15 minutes. It’s short burst of gritty, melodic punk rock. This holds true, even on poppier songs like “Aim So Low.”
I don’t need to say much else. This is a melodic hardcore record. I feel like anyone reading this already knows what that means. Great Lakes USA are a picture perfect example of it being done right. Fucking get into it.