Review – School Life (Koi) “First Week”

(This tape was released as Koi.  From what I can tell it seems like they have changed their name to School Life and switched up the line-up a little.  I will refer to them as School Life in this review.)

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With it’s members coming from Leer and Kill The Bats, School Life comes out with 5 short puchy pop-punk tunes.  No song is over 3 minutes and 3 of the songs are under the 2 minute mark.  I am a big fan of these short songs.  Infact one of my all-time favorite records is Short Music For Short People.  I don’t know whether it is because I have ADD or if short songs just fit the punk genre really well.  No other genre sounds good with a 1 minute song.  What I dig about School Life’s songs on this tape is that they give me a mood or an idea.  It doesn’t develop it or dwell on it.  It just presents it and moves on and I really like that.  “Pond” and “First Week” are great examples of what I am talking about.

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Pond – This song does a great job putting me in that room at 4am thinking about past decisions.  I think everyone has a night like this (or multiple nights). This song also grooves really nicely.  I can’t help but nod my head along while it builds to me banging my head when the drop happens. This song is definitely the club banger.  I haven’t had the chance to catch them live, but I hope I do soon, because this song sounds like it would be really fun to hear live.

First Week –  This song has some really nice wordplay that noodles around giving you an awkward feeling of heatbreak. The noodly guitars during the song compliment the wordplay pretty well.  The best part of this song is that it builds this awkward mood and moves on.

Moving – This is the longest song on the tape at 2:33.  I really dig the spoken word element.  Spoken word can be really hit or miss.  This song is definitely a hit.  Again it is too short to really miss.  The spoken word is buried in the mix a little which didn’t bother me.  It gave me the feeling of someone mumbling words to someone in defeat.  With the spoken word lyrics and the big finale send off it really rounds out the EP into something that stands out for me.

Overall this EP shows a real promising future for this San Jose band.  They posted a few other leftover tracks on their bandcamp.  I hope that School Life comes out with an LP in the near future.  At least a 7″.  I need more short songs.

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The tape is still available from Phat ‘n’ Phunky Phonics.  This EP is also available digitally here.  The beautiful artwork was done by Annabelle Binnerts. There are a lot of other great releases that Bob at Phat ‘n” Phunky puts out.  Don’t sleep on this band.  That would not be a good decision.

7.5/10

-Mahaffie

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I (Michael Mahaffie) am a documentary film editor by day and obsessive record collector by night. I also program documentaries for the Slamdance Film Festival. I have 2 dogs and a cat. I live in Echo Park. I like eating new foods and riding my bike. I also just learned how to juggle.

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