Listening to Belgian band Second Opinion made us feel like we’d been transported back a couple of decades to the classic pop-punk era. The quartet offer up a delicious fast-paced punk sound that they describe as “energetic, catchy, meaningful.”
The Tienen band formed from the ashes of two very different bands. Singer and guitarist Rigo Claes, guitarist Lucas Feys and drummer Jano Boogaerts played in a trash metal band, while Rigo and singer and bassist Daan Bauwens previously played in a pop-punk band together.
As the band explain: “After the vocalist of our previous pop-punk band left, we decided to continue with just Rigo, Daan and Jano. We played a few shows in our three man formation, but we knew we needed another guitar player so Lucas quickly joined the band. At that moment we became Second Opinion.”
“Rigo knew Lucas as a long time friend from school. We randomly found Daan while doing a student job in Tienen and when we were looking for a drummer for our metal band, Lucas and Rigo put up posters around our hometown and quickly we got a response from Jano. That’s pretty much how we all got together!”
The band released their superb debut album Another Day at the end of February, on which they told us: “People should expect nothing like our Fat Fish EP. We were still kids back then writing catchy upbeat pop punk songs. Now we have grown into a more mature sound.
“We definitely evolved into a heavier type of punk rock with more notion to the lyrics. We want to bring our own new sound into the punk rock world while sticking to the essentials: great riffs and catchy hooks. There is also a first for our band: an all acoustic song with strings and a female guest vocalist.”
The album lures you in by kicking off with its catchy title track. Another Day starts off with light vocals answered by energetic response then a lively little punk lick. A fast-paced opening verse drops into laid-back vocals that feed into a big catchy chorus. Check it out below:
And the catchy pop-punk just keeps on coming, including the engaging, very Blink sounding second track Generation Why.
While latest track Alone kicks off with cool opening guitar chords over lively drums then shouty vocals through the opening verse. That feeds into a big catchy chorus of “I’m falling down this endless hole, I slowly drown and I’m on my own, Please pick me up, I lost control, I fall apart and feel so alone.”
A second chorus feeds into big shouted vocals then a cheeky little guitar solo that drops into a final chorus. It’s the perfect pop-punk track and we absolutely love it. Check it out in the video below:
Another personal favourite track from the record is Five Days, which opens up with a cool guitar lick with high-pitched guitars over the top that drops into intense vocals over palm-muted guitars that gradually intensify. It flows straight into a catchy chorus driven forward by pounding drums.
A second chorus drops into a little bass solo then palm-muted guitars creep in and blasts into big punky chords under heavier vocals then one final blast of the chorus. Check it out below:
And, of course, in amongst all the lively punk rock goodness there’s a duo with female vocalist Hanne Terweduwe. Check it out below:
On the process of recording their debut album, the band told us: “We really took our time to make it the best possible album we could. Some of the songs we wrote like four years ago. Rigo is the main songwriter. Almost all songs started out as pre-recorded demos he made at home.
“He shared these demos with the rest of us at rehearsals and after everyone knew the song’s blueprint, we took an in depth look at every aspect of it. The structure, the vocals, guitar, bass and drums… We then molded it until we thought it was perfect. Every change we made, we recorded on the demo so we always had a good representation of the song to listen to and to work on. We only decided to make the actual studio recordings after we were fully satisfied with the demos. And still after all this work, we added little changes to some songs during the recordings.”
The album was recorded with the assistance of Penthouse Studio and Cyran Records, who sent the band our way. And the band add: “Doing studio recordings is one of the best things about being in a band. We had the opportunity to work with Filip from Penthouse Studio and Raf from Cyran Records for most of our recordings.
“It’s great to get a second opinion from experts in the music industry, see what we did there? A great tip for anyone who is about to record their first album is to make a clear schedule and to take your time!”
The band draw influence from the greats of punk rock, from Sum 41 and Blink-182 to Rise Against, State Champs and Neck Deep.
And on what inspires their music, they explain: “We always write our music from the heart. Every topic we write about is something that happened which had a great impact on us and that we want to share with the world. Some topics that occur in our new album are the cluelessness of leaving college and being afraid of what’s next, mental health and loneliness and feeling lost in society.”
And we don’t meet too many bands from Belgium, so we asked the guys for their thoughts on the rock scene in their homeland. They told us: “There are a lot of great rock bands in Belgium, shout-out to For I Am, Altitude, You Nervous?, F.O.D, Lost From The Start and our good friends from Dirty Toy Company.
“Unfortunately there’s not much of a rock scene in most parts of Belgium and there’s little support. People don’t care that much about local bands and smaller gigs in our genre anymore. It’s becoming more and more difficult for bands like us to rise from playing empty bars to playing decent venues.”
And the band add: “We’re three dudes that love to make and play music together and who share our passion about punk rock to the world. When we play live there’s only one goal, to have fun and entertain!