The Starting Line was one of those pop-punk bands that I just never could really get into. Even though “Best of Me” was probably one of the most sugar-coated (and catchy at that) songs released in my very young adulthood, the single never caught on and for that reason I didn’t pay much attention to any of the band’s subsequent work. However, I’m really glad that such disinterest didn’t keep me from giving the debut albumette of TSL front man Kenny Vasoli’s latest project, Person L, a listen. The Pennsylvania five-piece released Initial back in the summer of ’08 and since then have established themselves as one of the smarter acts to emerge from the early pop-punk scene. It is amazing to see how Vasoli and co. have managed to craft such a diverse, thoughtful collection of songs considering Kenny’s previous efforts. Despite being only eight tracks long, Initial possesses no singular sound. It opens with “Wooden Soldiers,” a soft, atmospheric song that centers itself on two simple, soothing vocal and guitar refrains. Slowly it blossoms into the perfect introduction for the album as layers of guitar and percussion flow into the track. The next track, “Holy Hell,” is a beast of a completely different nature; Person L demonstrates their appetite for destruction with this raucous, dirty track that sounds like the bastard son of prog and garage rock. The rest of the album navigates the distance between these two spectral extremes, resulting in an album that’s both sophisticated and accessible. My favorite track off Initial is by far its closer, “Storms.” Like “Wooden Soldiers,” it’s simple and a tad repetitive, but I couldn’t think of a better song to listen to during a late night drive.
This post is a bit overdue, but I write it since Person L will be going out on tour with Ace Enders this summer. All ye DC folk should go check them out at Jammin’ Java (Vienna, VA) on July 23rd. The rest of you can go here to find out when they’re playing near you.