It’s exciting when a band like Arizona Landmine emerges and embodies the intensity and depth that emo implied before its meaning was distorted. Their first release, a five-song EP titled When Will I Ever Learn?, displays a young band whose powerful, explosive power pop seems to disregard genre and deny the listener the luxury of predictability. “This Ain’t My First Rodeo,” the record’s second song, is rowdy and belligerent and rages like a beast cooped up too long, but breaks into awkward cartwheels at the beginning of each phrase, its guitars tumbling in time with playful drum fills. “Too High” is similarly thunderous, though straighter, simpler, and more melodic. But it’s during the song’s shushed verse, as the bass wows beneath the stippled toms, that Clark offers his lyrics like scattered snapshots: “Senior year of high school,” he sings, “We would count the days till we could hang / Drive to Steve’s apartment / the streets would echo with the Weezer songs we’d sing.” There are lithe, intricate moments as well. On “American Spirits,” guitars glitter and ring and sway like wind chimes in a fall breeze. Juxtapose this with “Method Acting,” whose guitars squirm and scamper across tantruming drums, and Clark’s howl cuts through the chaos. Of course, it’s all these descriptors—rowdy, awkward, thunderous, lithe and intricate, vulnerable and wild—that makes When Will I Ever Learn? a satisfying and surprising emo record. Arizona Landmine isn’t afraid to exhibit emotional honesty in whatever form it escapes them, regardless of how it sounds and regardless of how it’s classified.
Griffen Clark - Guitar and Vocals
Daniel Jacobitz - Guitar and Vocals
Leon Owusu - Bass
Ian Francis - Drums
FFO: Grown Ups, My Heart To Joy