Splits are always a lot of fun to listen to. It’s a great feeling when you can discover a new artist through a split with one of your favorites. This is exactly how my first listen through Museum Mouth’s new split with Naked Naps felt. I’ve been a fan of Museum Mouth since I discovered their third full-length, ‘Alex I Am Nothing,’ last year (so yeah, I’m pretty late on them). I loved the band’s style of messy pop-punk and their lyrics, which focused on homosexual love, something rarely touched upon in their genre. Musically speaking, Museum Mouth’s two songs on this split follow in much the same vein, as the band delivers two of their best tracks yet.
“Wave Emoji” immediately picks up right where ‘Alex’ left off – if you’ve not heard the album, that is to say, it begins with fuzzy guitars and vocals pushed down in the mix. As the song progresses, the band unleashes one of their catchiest, if least assuming, choruses, the line “I was inundated, no, I couldn’t make you laugh” repeated four times. The song has a similar vibe to that of a Cloud Nothings or Joyce Manor song: noisy, sort of cluttered, and a blast to sing along to. The band’s second offering, “Free to Be Lonely,” is one of the only songs in Museum Mouth’s catalog that you could conceivably dance to. It has a nice groove to it, with each beat nicely punctuated with a well-timed snare hit. The second half of the track takes a different turn however, with the drumming speeding up after the second chorus. It takes a backseat to the impressive two-minute guitar riff that closes out the song (and their half of the EP) in triumphant fashion. The two songs together make for a wonderful introduction to the band’s sound.
As I was unfamiliar with Naked Naps prior to the announcement of this EP, I could say the same for their three tracks. Sonically, the duo falls in around the same place as Museum Mouth, penning similarly lo-fi pop-punk songs. Their side kicks off with “Toyota Prius, the Silent Killer,” in a cacophony of hi-hat hits. When the vocals come in, they sound apathetic, bored, spent, not unlike how the vocals on Turnover’s ‘Magnolia’ often came across. In the context of Naked Naps’ music, though, this isn’t a detriment at all, as it fits in very well with their brand of pop-punk. My favorite of their songs is next, titled “Honda Civic, ‘88.” The song is built around a vaguely mathy riff bursting into a wordless chorus. It’s the catchiest of their tracks, and the vocals at times remind me not only of that same aforementioned Turnover style, but that of Hop Along as well. The aptly named “Outro” serves as little more than just that; it’s a quiet, arpeggiated spoken word song to end the split. It’s very different from the other four songs on the split, but it’s a cool little change of pace to end things.
All told, this split is a great taste of both bands. It even works as a surprisingly cohesive EP for having been written by two separate groups. Both deal in rather similar styles and, on this split at least, rather similar lyrical themes. On top of that, for new listeners, both are destined to become new favorites. 4/5