Pop punk isn’t a genre that’s lacking in bands. There’s a bit of a resurgence in the genre with younger bands like The Story So Far, State Champs, and The Wonder Years at the forefront. If anything, there’s more than enough bands with not too many breaking the mold. Luckily though, we have a local band called Soviet Sleeper Agent that blends together pop punk and a clear melodic hardcore influence for a very solid EP entitled Over and Out.

“Fonzie Jumps The Shark” wastes no time getting into the EP. You have your pretty standard 4-chord progression, but the melodic line in the lead guitar is really catchy. That’s one of the main things I enjoyed about this EP; the guitar work is really interesting and memorable. For example, during the chorus the rhythm guitar has a descending power chord progression again, while a lead guitar is doubling it on a higher octave. It fills out the sound and is a lot more memorable than if only one guitar was playing the passage. Towards the end we see the hardcore influence as the vocalist shouts some spiteful lines: “We’ll see who’s all talk when the driver’s side impact of an oncoming hatchback/pins your body in half and leaves your life a wreck.”

Next up is “Broseph Stalin,” which is my personal favorite track on this EP. I really liked the delayed, clean guitar lines in the verses that built up to arguably the catchiest chorus on here. It also features the only guitar solo, which was tasteful and fit the song perfectly with a combination of pretty fast single note playing along with a good amount of double stops. As a guitar player, I’m actually interested enough to figure it out by ear and see exactly what’s being played.

Another thing I liked a lot about these songs is that they don’t overstay their welcome. “Next Door…Jackass,” “No Need For Sheets,” “Wolf Man,” and “I May Have Alzheimer’s, But At Least I Don’t Have Alzheimer’s” all clock in at less than 2 minutes. That means you get the essential parts of the song and no fluff. My favorite of these was “I May Have Alzheimer’s…” it reminded me a lot of Such Gold (which is a very good compliment since I like that band a good amount).

As far as critiquing goes, there’s some parts where the vocal lines are a bit out of tune and I thought having whacky song names stopped being funny years ago-but all in all this is a great first release. There’s more than enough to make up for the negatives as the production is good, the songwriting is very good, and on a side note the artwork is awesome.

Over and Out is available for free download via the band’s Bandcamp page, so if you like pop punk and/or melodic hardcore, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you like what you hear, go catch them live at the Lansdale VFW on November 2nd-they’ll be giving out demos of new songs.