Members: Justin Olin - Vocals
Alec Mackowiak - Guitar
Kyle Ahlstrom - Guitar/Vocals
Drew Decker - Bass
Austin Dahl - Drums
Sporting memorable lines, sharp hooks and frantic energy, Chicago area quintet This Is Our Year has quite the buzz going. Hard at work at a debut full-length album expected in 2013, and a recent signing with upstart label Stayposi Records, the band plays an even mix of sugary pop/punk and massive-sounding hardcore, and here's the kicker: Unlike some bands of their ilk, they're doing each with equal vigor.
Though the guys in question - vocalist Justin Olin, guitarists Kyle Ahlstrom and Alec Mackowiak, bassist Frank Rodrigo and drummer Austin Dahl - aren't necessarily old enough to have caught bands like Blink 182, Lagwagon or Pulley in their heyday, that influence is enormously clear on the poppier moments of This Is Our Year's 2011 self-titled EP. It's true that as the interlocking guitar intro or sunny chorus to "You Just Crossed The Line" or the crushing closer "This Is My Boomstick!" harken back to the reign of pop-punk in the mid-90's, the blastbeats and deep growls of the Back To The Future-referencing "Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads" are clearly rooted in today's half-time hardcore crunch. Neither outweighs the other, however, and thus the band constantly keeps you guessing, rather than just switching gears predictably.
And while "Boomstick" and the appropriately-titled "Love American Style" deal with break-ups or disappointments in romance ("You girls are all the same," sighs Olin at one point), much of the EP - available for free download on the group's Bandcamp site - is shockingly lacking the typical "woe is me" mentality of the genre. "You're no match for us / We've got our town to thank for that" Olin declares towards the end of one track, giving a humble, poetic spin to a song structure that could've easily fallen into you-vs.-me territory. Instead, This Is Our Year sounds consistently united, both with their fanbase, and within their own band.