Pop punk quintet Øff Guard peaked our interest when they described their intriguingly catchy sound as “intricate emo rock’n’roll.” These may not be the most natural musical genre bedfellows, but the Long Island, New York-based band really make it their own as evidenced by last month’s launch of their debut EP.
The five-piece of Matt Weiss (lead vocals), Matt Becker (guitar and vocals), Tyler Embry (bass and vocals), Doug Tuchler (guitar) and Nick Kolokathis (drums) describe their meshing of the sounds to us as: “If you’re into Pierce The Veil or old school Fall Out Boy, you’re definitely gonna dig our sound. We have some interesting / spooky vocal melodies that you gotta hear.”
Most of the band met at high school and college and played shows together under Weiss’ name, then gradually built a sound “inspired by bands and artists we’ve seen at local shows and festivals like the Warped Tour.”
And the fruits of that have been the release of the EP Set The Scene, which kicks off with a short 25-second intro track then dives into lead single Strawberry Moon. Hits of guitar chord support a high-pitched floating guitar riff through the intro, which leads into a cool opening verse with the lyrics “I sleep alone in this bed for two, I know that you need me, I’m sorry that I had to let you go, I need to live life on my own” supported by the same intro guitars. It builds into a singalong chorus of high-pitched, more delicate vocals “As we move underneath Strawberry Moon, I will lose, Sight of you.” Guitar chords follow the verse with a cool mini guitar solo over the top, then flows into a heavier second verse with shouted vocals that drop into another atmospheric chorus. It ends on big high-pitched guitars over big chords that drop into a last repeat of the chorus.
On the track the band tell us: “We expect people to cry from this track. But if you can’t cry, we just want to hit people in the feels. The strawberry moon is the nickname of a full moon in June. We literally wrote the song underneath the strawberry moon.”
Next, Hidden Messages opens with a cool high-pitched guitar riff that feeds into a really fun verse with the vocals “I spin around in circles every night and watch you” followed by cries of “Go go go go,” then bigger shouted vocals lead into a singalong, more emo chorus. It’s catchy, fun and rocky, with an awesome little guitar solo towards the end leading into a Panic At The Disco-esque ending
The pace drops down in the intro to Tension, which opens with a cool acoustic guitar riff with vocals until heavier guitars come in and the intensity builds into big cries of “Do you feel the tension, Or is it just me? It can’t be just me” followed by punky guitar bursts. Big guitars then take over with a rolling punky riff and vocals, that go through to the end.
Next up Dust is very pop-punky with singalong choruses and bags of energy in the driving drums and punky guitars. And the EP ends with Angie (I Don’t Much Care Where), which opens up with quick bursts of guitar under an energetic, catchy vocal line that builds into a singalong chorus. A fun quick guitar solo follows and leads into another fast-paced chorus, then drops down into a slower, gradually building section that flows into long, drawn-out vocals and a bigger rendition of the chorus.
It ends in fun Fall Out Boy-like punk rock, but there’s also elements of emo and rock throughout the EP that give it a really enjoyable diversity.
On what inspires their music, the band say: “Real life experiences are what influence us to write a genuine song. Most of our songs are about girls, but we also write about how hard it can be to be an adult in this world with no one to support you but yourself.”