Power pop with a hint of punk and an intelligent dose of good humor and tangible fun. That is a very brief description of the real-world pop/punk act While We Are Up. You see, these young musicians just graduated from Arizona State University (where the band was formed). I, therefore, cannot call them a college act any longer. But semantics aside, Zach Booher and Steven Rouk create an eager blend of music that is fun to listen to.
According to the band’s bio, they actually met Sophomore year of school when Rouk locked himself out of his dorm room the first night of resident assistant training. They became quick friends and melded their similar musical influences together. The band blossomed from there.
The band released their first album, Transcontinental, in Spring of 2011, and the 14-track debut features a good variety of music. It is not just pop, but, in a similar manner to The Format features some fast-paced loud tracks and slower, more intimate pieces. The band has been featured on Van’s Warped Tour.
“Hold” is a rather simple track, but it’s simplicity is fresh. Acoustic and vocals carry a Plain White T’s rhythm and I specifically enjoy the pairing of guitars later in the piece. I must also credit Booher and Rouk for the strong harmonies they create as the song builds towards the end. They are also able to carry the vocals through the climax of the piece and it certainly sounds fresh, well mixed, and passionate. The end of the song features an intelligent mix of male and female vocals.
“Someday” is a pure definition of an “up” song. What I mean by “up” is it’s impossible to be in a bad mood after listening to the song and watching the comic-book dance-parade video that plays like a Saturday morning Disney live-action show but in such a genuine and hilarious way that it is almost impossible to not crack a smile at the dance-infused ray guns, buffed up bicycle cop, the random streaker, and the arms-toting duo attempting to spread excitement to a college campus. In a sense, the guitar-swinging duo of Booher and Rouk, who display this ability in the video, are much like the protagonists in the video. Through their music, they have spread enjoyment. The song itself is a hard-hitting pop piece filled to the brim with electric power riffs and an infectious chorus. It is less punk, more pop, and I like that. Great performance by the drummer as well. I can only imagine how fun it was to shoot this video.