Coast To Coast – The Length of a Smile

Coast To Coast introduced themselves to the flourishing UK pop punk scene with their debut EP Dwell, and now the Birmingham quintet are back with their sophomore release The Length of a Smile. The six-track EP is an excellent demonstration of a fresh style of pop punk from some hugely promising musicians.

The opening song of the EP is Ajax, which kicks off on a medium pace. The vocals come in and Keiran Hyland’s Brummie heritage is proudly on display – they’re thick and British as you like. The song builds up nicely before Hyland launches the song into a euphoric climax with some emphasized vocals. Coast To Coast have built a lyrically poignant record on The Length of a Smile, focusing around home relationships with a strong sense of place.

Geranium is second, and a contender for the strongest song on the EP. Once again there’s a strong sense of tempo here, building up the tension before the song breaks into full pace. Geranium has a strong chorus and a relatively simple yet effective riff to keep the song moving. Resisting the urge to write a collection of scrappy, angsty punk-driven songs to craft a more pensive and relatable record, Coast To Coast have managed excellently.

Heredity is the second single of the EP, and perhaps the most personal the record has to offer. The song considers Keiran Hyland’s somewhat fractious relationship with his father, and these themes lend the song a sense of stoicism. Wishing for independence yet riddled with doubts, Heredity isn’t the most musically distinct song on the EP, but it’s certainly a stirring track.

The lead single for The Length of a Smile is Post Graduation, another anthemic song. Dealing with anxieties over departing the comfort of a university experience that wasn’t quite right, its intricacy brings weight. Coast To Coast‘s song-writing skill is perhaps both expressed here through vivid imagery of a concerning university life. Highly relatable and delivered brilliantly, Post Graduation is a huge addition to The Length of a Smile.

Closing up with Stale and title track The Length of a Smile, the band wind down the EP nicely. Stale does little to further the musical endeavor of the EP, but it serves to consolidate the tight style that Coast To Coast have weaved together through these six songs. Stale shows a dichotomy between the positivity of “Fill your life with what makes you happy” (seemingly cliché yet deployed perfectly) and the cornerstone anxieties that permeate the EP.

The Length of a Smile lays the EP to rest as the slowest song included. It sidesteps detracting from the energy present through the EP so far by capturing a tangible tension in some harsher vocals. Introspective and honest, it’s a moment of reflection as the song fades out.

Coast To Coast have produced a prolific and enjoyable record in The Length of a Smile. Taking a step to differentiate themselves further from the legions of pop punk bands around currently has rewarded the band. With this EP successfully expanding and consolidating a style they debuted on Dwell, the only way is up for Coast To Coast.

[8/10]