Early Riser’s debut album, Currents, is packed with the sing-a-long campfire punk anthems you never knew you needed. Embracing a much more melodic side of folk-punk (think Days N Daze with the crust washed off or Frank Turner fronting Murder By Death), the Brooklyn duo of Kiri Oliver (guitar, keys, vocals) and Heidi Vanderlee (cello, vocals) have captured the emotions of teenage angst turned to adult acceptance and set it to a wonderful mix of folk, pop-punk, and indie. Calling on the help of Zane Van Dusen on bass and Davie Olsen on drums for Currents (out on Anchorless Records and A-F Records). Early Riser doesn’t miss a single beat – each song is optimistic and uplifting while remaining realistic and relatable. Between the slightly off-key vocal harmonies, cleverly written songs, and awesome cello riffs, the record comes across as beautifully quirky and wonderfully awkward, in all the right ways.
The first single off of Currents is “The Nevers,” and it represents the feel of the record as a whole. It’s an uplifting look at staying positive in defeat while growing older. Lines like “there’s no such thing as growing up, only growing,” and “it’s okay to go out with whimper as long as you come back in with a bang” ring true with anyone coming to terms with the fact that life isn’t what we thought it would be, and that’s okay. It’s inspiring and positive, if not somewhat depressing, but that seems to be a theme through this string-laden, pop-punk gem. Songs of lost love, anxiety, and uncertainty become songs of moving on and growing as a person. Lyrics such as “we’re too old for teen angst, too young to give up” and “everything I know is a joke but I forgot the punchline long ago” are strewn throughout the record for every aging punk to relate to- it’s your standard coming of age pop-punk album, just that age being twenty-thirty something instead of 16.
Early Riser’s Currents isn’t so much a folk-punk album as it’s an album of punk songs played by a folk band. It’s a revolutionary folk-punk record that doesn’t sound anything like Against Me!’s Reinventing Axl Rose, and definitely isn’t trying to. Currents is raw and emotional, but simultaneously poppy and fun. From the first song to the last, each will make you want to dance, think, laugh, cry, sing-a-long, and feel, all at the same time. It might not be the punk rock you’re looking for, but it’s the punk rock you got, and it’s pretty fucking incredible.