Nostalgia has been a part of music throughout history, and it will no doubt continue to be a part of music in the future. Inevitably, some musicians will find creative inspiration by reflecting on the past, which is what alchalant (who don’t capitalize their name) do on their noteworthy single “Grad Song.” Alex Matijow, lead singer for this Detroit-based punk/alternative rock band, wrote the original version of “Grad Song” when he was still in high school back in 2001; the tune was reworked in 2010 (for one thing, a new bridge was added) and recorded by alchalant in 2011. And it isn’t hard to see why Matijow has kept “Grad Song” in his repertoire for 11 years; the tune is nostalgic in a way that is easy to like and easy to relate to. Matijow’s lyrics look back on his childhood, fondly recalling a simpler time in his life. And listeners will have no problem relating to “Grad Song’s” nostalgic message, which is delivered with an exuberant punk/alterna-rock infectiousness. “Grad Song” is hooky and catchy, underscoring the fact that melody is an important part of alchalant’s musical outlook.
That said, “Grad Song” is not emo and should not be described as emo; the fact that alchalant are melodic contributors to punk rock does not automatically make them an emo band. Rather, “Grad Song” is typical of alchalant’s work in that it is edgy and aggressive yet shows some vulnerability. And the tough-guy-with-a-heart aesthetic that has worked well for Matijow on some of alchalant’s other recordings (including their song “Better Off Dead”) also works well for him on “Grad Song.” Stylistically, “Grad Song” has a lot more in common with Green Day (one of alchalant’s main influences) and early Offspring than it does with ultra-introspective emo bands such as blink-182 and the Sloppy Meateaters.
If one has never heard any of alchalant’s recordings, “Grad Song” would be an enjoyable introduction.
Review by Alex Henderson
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)