Review by Shannon Shumaker
Finding Common Ground’s new EP, The Time That’s Passed is emotional, melodic pop-punk with just the perfect amount punk aggression sprinkled on top. In a genre that becomes more and more saturated every day, The Time That’s Passed stands out from the pop-punk pack with strong bass lines, catchy guitar hooks, smart lyrics and vocals that kill.
Right off the bat, you can hear the punk influences in Finding Common Ground’s sound with the bass heavy riffs and gang vocals in the first track, “Cruise Control.” The chorus in “Cruise Control” is comparable to The Swellers, but with a grittier, more punk feeling, and the outcome makes for a perfect opening track. Where the first song is more bass and drum driven, however, the following song, “Arrhythmia” begins with a memorable lead guitar part and beautiful melodic vocals. “Arrhythmia” is the perfect example of the nice balance that Finding Common Ground has found with their sound - while the song starts off with a strong lead guitar part that promises to carry much of the song, a great bass part comes in near the end, evening things out a bit. The melodic chorus is beautiful, but the song isn’t without some gang vocals as well. And then, immediately following “Arrhythmia,” Finding Common Ground throw you into a fast-paced song with “Perspective.”
“Honesty” is easily one of the high points on The Time That’s Passed, which makes it perfect for its middle placement on the EP. This track has a little bit of everything that makes the EP strong - meaningful lyrics about moving forward and growing, fast paced guitar work, a strong rhythm section and vocal harmonies to boot. The progression and overall songwriting of “Honesty” (and just about every song on the EP) is remarkable. It’s definitely easy for a band to fall into safe songwriting patterns or stay on the same level throughout a song or even an entire album, but that doesn’t happen here. “Honesty” starts with strong, fast paced guitar work, flowing easily into melodic vocals and a memorable chorus all before throwing you into a slower bridge and ending that really makes you feel like you’ve gone on a journey with the song.
And then, just when you feel like you might have these six songs figured out, “Crowded Rooms” comes in and mixes things up even more. The second to last song on the album, “Crowded Rooms” is a heartfelt ballad - it’s slower and just the break you need right before the EP comes to a close. Lyrically, “Crowded Rooms” is one of the strongest songs on the album, keeping the overall theme of moving forward prominent. And then, just as you’ve been lulled into relaxation, “Crowded Rooms” flows flawlessly into “Directions, Destinations,” and the progression is absolutely beautiful. “Directions, Destinations” leaves the The Time That’s Passed on a high note, with “It’s time to move on,” and by the time the EP comes to a close, it’s impossible not to look out to the future along with the band.
It seems that Finding Common Ground have made themselves a perfect little niche in the pop-punk scene with this mix of aggressive and melodic vocals, beautiful harmonies that contrast well with gang vocals and songs that are carried heavily by bass and drums, but without overshadowing smart guitar work. On top of that, the lyrical content and overall mood of the EP is well worth listening to more than once, just to catch it all. For a short EP of only six songs, Finding Common Ground have documented a journey with The Time That’s Passed, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Listen to "Directions, Destinations"