EP Review // BELMONT ‘Reflections’
For Belmont’s latest effort, an EP titled Reflections, the Chicago five-piece have cooked up a tasty stew by mixing bits of pop-punk, trap, a little bit of screamo, metal, and whatever else they could take inspiration from.
As the comment memes go:
Label: “So what genre do you play?”
For a lot of people and bands, bending genres and stepping too far outside the box doesn’t work. With the Reflections EP, Belmont have found a way to not only do it but do it well. Although it is only five songs, each of them rips in their own way. Much of this aptly named album is about looking inwardly and finding ways to move forward. We are treated to an effortless performance from the entire band, including standout vocals from frontman Taz Johnson.
The opening track, By My Side, is the most cross-genre song on the EP. It opens like a trap track, but quickly blends digitised beats with a heavy bass line, screaming, and good, fun pop-punk. Similarly, Stay Up and Move Along treat us to metal guitar riffs, once again showing the diversity of Belmont. It is worth noting that on a record full of fast-paced songs, somehow Move Along goes above and beyond. It is a sweaty, effortlessly crafted tune that is destined to be a crowd pleaser.
The heavy-hitting single Deadweight has remained well-received since dropping in February. The contrast between the punchy chorus and the ambient sounds that hide in the background bring a unique aspect to the track.
The way Belmont have laid out Reflections deserves some serious acknowledgement. It is a perfect ebb and flow, with Hideout calming things down for a moment in the middle. Lyrics like “But this time I won’t just play myself / And this time I won’t blame someone else / Cuz I just can’t waste my life only holding on, like there’s another one” hit differently with the subdued, yet still intoxicating bass and rhythm lines.
If there is one track to criticize, Back And Forth is it. The song itself is great – stands out yet fits in with the rest of the album, energetic chorus, infectious hook. The only challenge is that the mix on this track muddles the vocals. That is something that will likely work itself out in the live sets, so Back And Forth is not to be discounted. While, generally speaking, extended fade outs are overdone and dull, Belmont keep theirs interesting enough that you’re left excited for the next track even though you know it’s not going to come. Thank goodness for “repeat album” features.
Reflections is an experimental, honest prelude to their second full-length album. There is familiarity in many of the tracks, but it is apparent that the band set out to push their boundaries on this EP. Belmont are deeply underrated and Reflections proves that.