Formerly known as Tighticus Finch, Boston pop-punk band has rebranded themselves as Cardinals, and released an acoustic EP titled Aftertaste. The five-track album was released in January, and even though it’s acoustic, it’s filled with that oh-so-familiar pop-punk energy.
Cardinals named their influences as “all the bands you liked when you were thirteen,” and that’s a pretty accurate description for the vibes I got from Aftertaste. The EP sounds like a combination of all the artists that shaped you during your formative middle school years (Paramore comes to mind for me, my number one music love in junior high). Cardinals has a sound that’s pretty typical to pop-punk, with Emily Ronna on vocals, reminiscent of female-lead punk bands like Tonight Alive and PVRIS (both of which I love). CJ Rarela makes up the other half of the band.
1. When I'm Gone (Acoustic)
2. Remission (Acoustic)
3. Of Montreal (Acoustic)
4. In the Dust (Acoustic)
5. Human (Acoustic)
It’s hard to say what makes Cardinals any different from other pop-punk bands. They sound pretty similar to a bunch of other artists I’ve heard in the pop-punk genre, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And I will say that they have a lot of potential. But I think I actually would’ve preferred it if Aftertaste wasn’t acoustic.
I felt like the stripped-down quality took something away from it. I would have enjoyed the songs more if they had more power behind them with the instrumentals, and it definitely would’ve added to the vocals. A couple of the songs on the album, “When I’m Gone” and “Human,” were taken from the album Temperamental when Cardinals was still called Tighticus Finch. I went and listened to the original versions, and I enjoyed them a lot more. They had more of that heavy, pounding, electric guitar that I love so much about pop-punk, and they got me pumped up, whereas the acoustic tracks on Aftertaste had me feeling like there was a little something missing.
While Aftertaste was good, I would definitely recommend checking out Cardinals’ Bandcamp and listening to their older stuff from the Tighticus Finch era. “Humans” was probably the best song off the EP (though I prefer the original version to the acoustic). I’m interested to see in the future how Cardinals is different from Tighticus Finch, and I’d like to hear some more stuff from the newly-minted Cardinals that’s not acoustic.
Otherwise, keep up to date with Cardinals in the future by checking and following their social media below!