Western Education draw on the sounds of their youth for their latest EP.
Massachusetts trio Western Education are aware that they owe much to the titans of '00s rock. The band, who grew up “in a time when the Strokes were already elder statesmen”, draw heavily on the energetic sounds of their youth on Restless Dreams. At the same time, however, this release is gifted with a symphonic depth of production quality, allowing Western Education to put their own spin on the work of modern masters.
From the get-go, this balance between innovation and allusion is struck with passion and vibrancy. The EP’s opener, “Running Wild”, has a cinematic ambiance about it which is at times akin to Arcade Fire. At the same time, singer Greg Alexandropoulos’ vocals are reminiscent of Rise Against, or another melodic punk outfit. On this track, the band’s sound is bolstered with startling attention to production and instrumental ingenuity, as the trio seek to put their own stamp on the work of their inspirations.
Western Education are at their most powerful when Alexandropoulos’ emotional vocal stylings are mirrored by a sense of urgency in the band’s instrumental work. While “Skin Deep” and “Stay Inside” are able to pull this off, the band sometimes come up short when they mismatch powerful vocals with more mellow guitar work. The reverent “Vampire Hours” fits the bill here, and while their efforts to diversify are admirable, the trio lose some of their high-octane appeal in changing up their formula.
For the most part, however, Western Education are able to engineer an effective release with Restless Dreams. The music demands high involvement from the listener, but its energy and attention to detail certainly validate this call for attention.