Mouth is the second EP from Kingston PA indie rockers Hymn. The band has a knack for evoking my own sense of nostalgia. It takes me back to my days of first listening to bands like Blink 182, My Chemical Romance, and a plethora of other pop punk/emo bands.
Hymn started as a personal project from guitarist and front man Tyler Chau. Chau released Hymn’s first EP I Had the Same Dream as You in September of 2015. In January of 2016 the band came together to include Josh Roberts on bass, George Monrroy on drums and vocals, and Andrew Mickowski on guitar. Mouth was released on June 17. They name bands such as Tigers Jaw, Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate), and Saves the Day as some of their influences.
Mouth marks a slight departure from the sound of I Had the Same Dream as You. While the songwriting itself is similar, and the lyrical content is certainly in the same realm, Mouth is a lot heavier than the first EP. The songs are fun and simple, and had me unconsciously bobbing my head along to the rhythm.
2. Paradigm Shift
4. Sleeping Bag
I spoke briefly with the band & Tyler asking for their thoughts on the record, "The EP has a lot to do with communication, & how we choose to use (or not use) it. The artwork itself was a big inspiration for the lyrics, originally starting as an illustration that was done by a co-worker of mine. Looking back, I think there were a few sounds here & there we may have changed if we could. But overall, we're really proud of it, & I think it really set the tone for us as a band."
The EP opens with “Hana”, a slow and somber introduction to the EP with some thought provoking lyrics. It’s a short track, clocking in at just 1:26. But the length is fitting, as the track serves almost as an intro to the second song on Mouth, “Paradigm Shift.” Towards the end of “Hana” things pick up a little bit, and everything flows very neatly into the next track.
“Paradigm Shift” is an archetypal song for the genre. A high energy piece that conjures images of densely packed crowds and mosh pits. The lyrics seem to pick up where “Hana” left off, making the first two tracks feel more like one whole piece than two separate songs.
The third and titular track starts off with a simple but effective chord progression, and a nice little guitar lead. Palm muted guitars underline the verse, in which I couldn’t help but think that Tyler Chau’s voice sounded a lot like Mark Hoppus of Blink 182. It’s another solid song that fits well within the EP.
The closing number, “Sleeping Bag” is a fitting ending to Mouth. I’m a big fan of the guitar parts in the verses in particular. Again, Hymn fits well within their genre here. A catchy refrain makes you want to sing and dance along. And of course it ends with the obligatory “Woah” melody. It would be wrong if it didn’t.
On the whole, Mouth isn’t pushing the limits, or reinventing the wheel. But that’s not a fault, it’s not trying to. It’s a fun EP, and it clocks in at only 9 minutes, so you really have no reason not to listen to it if you’re a fan of the genre.