Actual Villains

Actual Villains EP

Pop-punk rockers Actual Villains have released their self-titled debut EP, and the guys allowed Creative Control an early listen.

Made up of Andrew Deneef on the mic and guitar, JJ Cooper on guitar and backing vocals, Josh Trenkamp on bass and drummer Travis Hartman, the Cincinnati rockers are ready to make a name for themselves with their debut EP. Opening track “Wasted Youth” is full of youthful angst and misguided tendencies as Deneef sings about the sorrows of someone suffering from substance addiction. It’s a heavy topic, but it’s blended well with heartfelt belts from Deneef and power chords mixed with plucky strings making the verses sound like a diary entry and the chorus an emotional explosion. Overall it’s a sound that’s never heavy-handed and very well exemplifies someone confused who relies on outside methods to get back to normal.

The song “To Whom it May Concern” sounds like Deneef and an ex did not part on the best of terms. “You’re two faced and a fake. You only stood in my way, but I’ll be fine. I’m ok. I never needed you anyway. I’ve given everything to live out this dream to end up with nothing but memories,” croons Deneef on the track’s chorus. In the continued theme of angst and traditional pop-punk sounds, this song hits all the proper notes, but it doesn’t feel trite or overdone.

To put it simply, Actual Villains sounds differently from other pop-punk bands while still hitting the same notes that other bands have hit before. It could be because the band has only been together for five months and already releasing recorded music, or it may come down to Deneef’s delivery of the lyrics with Cooper’s guitar serving as a more than appropriate sidekick. Whatever it may be that makes Actual Villains stand out, they’re hitting all the right beats on these seven songs.

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