Review by Shannon Shumaker
Distant Like You Asked is the perfect follow-up to Like Pacific’s self-titled EP, released last year. With twice the amount of songs, the Toronto pop-punk band have gotten the chance to expand on the strong sound they established on their previous release and it’s safe to say that Distant Like You Asked is a success. With a grittiness in the vocals that is sometimes similar to The Story So Far, Like Pacific take emotional, personal stories and turn them into ten relatable, poetic and catchy tracks.
Opening up the album in the perfect way is “Richmond.” The first song is fast paced, but not too aggressive or urgent to the point where you can’t appreciate the smart songwriting or strong lyricism that carries it forward. Everything about “Richmond” works, from the fast-paced yet easy sounding vocals to the equally interesting guitar work and strong backbone of bass and drums. “Richmond” just keeps building and building until the end, and then, just when you think it couldn’t get any better, it transitions into “Distant,” which carries things forward with a sense of frustration and longing. The passion and emotion behind the vocals are the high point of “Distant,” contrasting well with “Richmond,” which is carried by interesting instrumentals. Lyrically, “Distant” is one of the strongest songs on the album, as well, starting things off right with standout lines such as, “Nothing speaks to me or comforts me/I’m not getting sleep/Barely functioning,” and “Why won’t you fall for me?/I’m distant like you asked me to be.”
The emotions from “Distant” run off into the vocals on “Worthless Case” as well, but the song as a whole is very well balanced. The first noticeable thing about “Worthless Case” is the rolling drums and strong bass line, followed by beautiful guitar work and emotional vocals. In “Worthless Case,” it becomes apparent that it really takes the whole band to make these songs come alive - Distant Like You Asked isn’t strong for just one reason. For instance, when the band cuts out in this track, leaving just the vocals, it’s absolutely stunning, but so is the bass line that follows. There isn’t one instrument that outshines the other.
Following “Worthless Case” are “Assisted Breathing” and “22a,” which are both slightly softer sounding than the first few tracks, but where these songs lack in high energy, they definitely make up for in subtle, but beautiful instrumentals and poetic lyricism. “22a” hosts some soft yet intricate guitar work along with some of the most interesting drumming on the album, and “Assisted Breathing” is carried by strong lyricism. While things slow down a bit in these two songs, the energy definitely picks up in “Commitment,” which is carried heavily by pounding, urgent drums and bass. Vocally, “Commitment” is a bit rougher and more aggressive, as well, but all while staying true to the solid sound and theme that Like Pacific has established on the album.
The sense of longing and frustration on Distant Like You Asked is apparent within just the first few songs and doesn’t let up until the very end, but thankfully, it doesn’t become repetitive or predictable as the album continues forward. Instead, the solid theme on the album just makes it more cohesive, especially when songs do differ from one another. While some songs may sound a little similar, they all stand out for their own reasons, as well. Where “Commitment” is more chaotic and messy, the following song, “Hang,” is much poppier and structured. “Chine Drive” is a middle ground between the two, with fast paced vocals similar to “Richmond” while still remaining incredibly catchy in the chorus. And then, bringing things to a close is the big final track, “Scarred,” which feels like a new beginning, especially after all of the pain and frustration that can be heard on the majority of the record. “You’re not worth my time,” vocalist Jordan Black yells in the song’s opening line, giving listeners a sense of closure as the album comes to an end, and by the time “Scarred” comes to an end, you’re left feeling both fulfilled and anxious to hear the next chapter in Like Pacific’s story. Distant Like You Asked not only gives listeners a full, cohesive sound from Like Pacific, but it also tells a story, and one that many listeners are bound to connect with.
Listen to "Distant"
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