Label: Pure Noise Records
Released: 29th September 2023
Go back to the start of the century, and Long Island was the punk rock scene, with Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, The Movielife and From Autumn To Ashes, amongst others, making it the hottest place on the planet for a minute.
Things have been a little quieter since then, but Koyo capture the spirit of this time beautifully, and after a handful of quite stellar EPs have brought their bouncy punk rock sound to a perfectly crafted full length.
Not quite hardcore, not quite emo and not quite pop-punk, Koyo instead inhabit the same hallowed middle ground found by their forebears in the Movielife, having enough about them to appeal to fans of all these disparate but related genres without alienating the others.
It would perhaps be easy to run from this legacy – these bands cast a long shadow, after all – but Koyo have instead embraced it, roping in the Movielife’s Vinnie Caruana and Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo to add guest spots on ‘What’s Left To Say’ and ‘Message Like A Bomb’ respectively. Then again, when your songs are as good as those found on ‘Would You Miss It?’, why wouldn’t you get them in front of such legends…
You see, while Koyo have a sound that’s somewhat indebted to what’s come before, they’re also masters of writing pop-punk-infused melodic hardcore bangers, and ‘Would You Miss It?’ is wall-to-wall mosh anthems.
Take, for example, ‘You’re On The List (Minus One)’. Vagrant or Drive-Thru records would have fallen over themselves to release it in years gone by. It’s an acrimonious bidding war set to a punk rock beat, and it’s unquestionably one of the finest melodic hardcore songs of the year. Equally, ‘Message Like A Bomb’ is the year’s most aptly-titled song, as once it goes off, it fucking goes off.
With hardcore in rude health, Koyo are yet another act finding a new way to break through the ceiling, and with ‘Would You Miss It?’ they’ve found the sweet spot between melodicism, accessibility and bite.