I'm Scared That's All There Is
Oklahoma emo/punk band Ben Quad have announced their debut LP titled "I'm Scared That's All There Is" set for release on June 29 via Chillwavve, and it features recent singles "We're Gonna Be Here for a While," "You Gotta Learn to Listen, Lou," and "Blood for the Blood God," as well as new single "Joan of Hill." As evident on the new songs, the band combine twinkly 90s midwestern emo with early 2000s melodic and hook-laden anthemic pop punk sensibility, fitting right in with the new crop of 5th wave emo revival bands. Fans of newer bands like Carly Cosgrove, Good Sleepy, Arm's Length, Posture & The Grizzly and Free Throw, will all find something to enjoy in Ben Quad.
About the new LP:
Set for release in early 2022, I’m Scared That’s All There Is is a powerful, infectious, and vibrantly emotional ode to making it through post-adolescence with sanity intact. “The lyrics were written in a collaborative effort for the most part,” notes Viveros, speaking to the tightly-knit friendship and chemistry that informs the well-oiled performances on the record, as well as the earnest universality with which it speaks to issues like mental health and the improvement of both self and community. Shields fits in with the band like he’d been there since the very beginning, providing both rock-solid complements to Young’s organically warm rhythmic backbone as well as occasional melodic accents. Meanwhile, the dynamic between Viveros’s delightfully creative approach to guitar work and the rousing conviction of Wegrzynski’s vocals continues to pay dividends as each of the seven songs feels like an anthemic centerpiece. Opener “Blood for the Blood God” serves as a counterpart to “We’re Gonna Be Here for a While,” as both songs use the backdrop of driving energetic emo to pick apart themes of growth and taking accountability for one’s own actions– “We basically wanted these songs to be the antithesis to the typical lyrics found in emo music,” acknowledges Viveros. Elsewhere, the brief and peppy “Unclench Your Jaw” uses its hyperactive jauntiness to encourage the listener to embrace their insecurities and find strength in what makes them unique, while the focused intensity and poppy assertiveness of “Gotta Learn to Listen to Lou” analyzes the exhaustion that comes with growing older. The back half of I’m Scared That’s All There Is is even more pensive and personal. While both “It’s a Kinkade!” and “When All Other Lights Go Out” deal with the loss of a close friend, they use contrasting aesthetics to demonstrate the wildly varying emotional responses that can crop up in the aftermath. Where “It’s A Kinkade!” revels in hopeful gang vocals and surges of melodic empowerment, the eerie minimalism of “When All Other Lights Go Out” reflects on the hurt with a bitingly bare honesty. The climax of the record comes with the near- five-minute closer “Joan of Hill,” which takes the listener on a sonic and emotional journey that ultimately ends with the title of the record as downbeat refrain, somehow comforting and devastating in equal measure. It’s a victory lap moment for the underdogs.
With I’m Scared That’s All There Is, Ben Quad have defined themselves as one of the most vital voices in the current wave of emo. As talented as they are emotionally resonant, Ben Quad carry themselves with a unique drive and intensity that belies their technical skill, which is as polished as a veteran band far beyond their years. Ben Quad are at the top of most bands’ games, and they’re only getting started.