Spelling Reform’s No One’s Ever Changed is optimistic bummer rock for the teenage soul

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Spelling Reform | courtesy of the artist
Spelling Reform | photo by Jonathan Brown | courtesy of the artist

Getting down on yourself is easy; it’s the getting back up part that’s tricky. Bettering yourself is often a slow, confusing process, but there’s beauty in that confusion, and that’s precisely what Philly’s Spelling Reform try to capture in their music. Their debut full-length No One’s Ever Changed picks up right where last year’s Diving Bell EP left off with a twelve song set of optimistic bummer rock for the teenage soul.

Opening track “Microscope” sets the tone immediately with its dance-able, indie punk instrumentals and Dan Wisniewski’s frantic, introspective lyrics. This is followed by catchy highlight “Expiration Date”, where he knowingly sings of “probing planets from miles away” as the party rages on around him. Whether it’s wishful thinking (“Tuscaloosa”) or a flat-out cry for help (“For Clair Patterson”), there’s a palpable urgency to these songs that anyone who’s ever felt feels can relate to.

After the moody build of “Everyone Else’s Experiences” makes way for full-on pop-punk catharsis, Spelling Reform doubles down on sentimentality for much of No One’s back half. Roots-y spacious songs like “Drag Your Horse” and the title track provide a nice change of pace, while tracks like “Tourniquet” and “Let’s Start Over” hint at pent-up anger bursting at the seams. Closer “The Coolest Guy” brings that angst back in full force with the fastest BPM of the set and crowd-pleasing gang vocals, placing them right back where they started–lost and scared, but determined to figure it out.

No One’s Ever Changed is out today via Black Rd Records; stream it now below, care of Consequence of Sound. If you want to catch Spelling Reform live as they celebrate the release, they’ll be headlining Johnny Brenda’s tomorrow night with support from Night Windows and Cherry. For tickets and more information, check out XPN’s Concert Calendar.

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