Wholly embracing the art of punk that saw participants rebel against the systems and authorities in place – Ember Mikayla takes on the state of contemporary times with this nostalgic yet conceptually insightful project.
Blending the raw vocal style and pace of punk-rock with a somewhat electronically fuzzy mix and some catchy riffs, Growing Up Punk kicks into gear with a quickly engaging Bleed The Machine.
The album feels immediately relevant to the implications of its name. Mikayla offers a certain accessible normality – a familiar, comforting sound, and topics that feel both personal and inviting in these angry, unsettled outpourings.
Anarchist Skirt follows the opener and makes for a fine example of a more personal, story-telling track. Mikayla leans back and further throughout Growing Up Punk, between that which involves us all, and that which is simply a means of venting intimate and honest reflections on the individual story. The balance works well, and always the music and the voice keep the threads alive between tracks.
Transfessions is an early highlight, infectious riffs pour through with quickness and weight, creating immersive escapism with ease. Weave in a storyline that’s deeply open about personal struggles and the search for self, complete with pain and the ache of unacceptance, and the whole thing captivates and entertains in a heavy, nostalgic yet topically modern fashion. Mikayla tells these kind of untold stories throughout this album, making it as fascinating a listen as it is energising for its punk-rock power and pace.
Offering a well-placed touch of contrast is the acoustic purity of The Stains In-Between. A moment of softness, intimacy and breathy calm – along with poetic reflections that further the artist’s connection with the listener. Every rock album needs its gentler moment, and this one works beautifully.
Other highlights include the screaming guitar sound and raw, passionate peaks of 1312, and the ultimately revealing, anthem-like weight of The Only I. We Are is also a melodic stand-out for its similarly anthemic quality. Really though, despite the somewhat home-made style of the project, it connects for its realness in both subject and sound. The more time you spend with these songs, the more the depths of the writing reaches out and connects.