Good Kid Bring Listeners Back to a World of Chuck Taylors and Side-Swipe Bands on Second EP

Good Kid Bring Listeners Back to a World of Chuck Taylors and Side-Swipe Bands on Second EP
Good Kid 2 is quite possibly the most literal title these Toronto pop-punkers could've chosen. The second EP is also the longest in the band's catalogue — and the fresh-faced smiling mascot of 2018's Good Kid returns to the album cover, once again projecting expectations of sunny bubble-gum soft rock only to be smacked by lyrics of self-conflict, bitterness, loneliness and heartbreak.

Upbeat, sugary sweet and with improved production, Good Kid 2's sound sends you travelling back to a time rife with Chuck Taylors and side-swept bangs. Tracks "Drifting" and "Everything Everything" sound like backlogged Panic! At The Disco songs, where sunshine-filled guitars and heavy drums are paired alongside stories of disillusionment. "It was a city of faith / From the year it was made / But then it started to decay / But I'm still here, amongst everything, everything."

"Pox" is a particularly vulnerable moment on the project: "I wish I had been born at sea / Then you wouldn't care, and you wouldn't know me." It is easily the softest track on the album, with hushed vocals, ghostly oohs and a slowed, sad take on their normally glittering guitar work. Good Kid then jump right back into loud, bright instrumentation on the following track, "Aloe Lite," applying a bit of soothing optimism to an otherwise melancholy vibe.

Good Kid 2 is heftier, louder and has an overall higher production value than the previous work on Good Kid, but sticks to the same box of tricks. The album opens with the line, "Well, here we are again" — and while the band's sound is nothing short of great, you might leave the project wishing the rockers pulled out something new.

Then again, for long-term fans, classic pop-punk lovers, and those feeling disenchanted by the state of the world, Good Kid 2 is an album to get excited about. (Independent)