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Sex Before Marriage, "You'll Always Remember Your First Time"

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Sex Before Marriage
You'll Always Remember Your First Time
Lt. Roosa Cobretti Records
Four stars (out of five)

In the world of punk rock, the true worth of a band is measured by the live show, not the albums. Albums serve merely as documentation, a yearbook of sorts, through which the band (and fans) can look back on a specific era. Local emo-revivalists Sex Before Marriage's debut release, an EP called You'll Always Remember Your First Time, documents the end of an era for the band.

For four years, Pat Dow (guitar) and Pat Simms (vocals) - the only static members of Sex Before Marriage - performed with a new drummer or bassist every few months. Only in the nine months before the release of You'll Always Remember did the line-up solidify with the addition of youthful drummer Skyler Rowe and dedicated bassist Bake Henry.

Spurred by the arrival of the new members, the band finally settled down and recorded a brilliant little EP. Featuring new compositions as well as songs that the band had been playing for years, the EP came as a relief to the band's fans.

The EP opens with the rattling "Our Little Secret", which shows band members wearing their influences (Braid, Mineral, Cap'n'Jazz, Jawbreaker, etc) on their sleeves, but with a sound all their own. Simms' vocals are truly one-of-a-kind and shine brightly throughout the whole disc.

While the bands aforementioned influences may sound fairly dreary, Sex Before Marriage plays with an upbeat attitude that leaves its mopey predecessors far behind. The fantastic track "Real Water, Fake Flowers" shows the band playing at its most energetic, with Simms' vocals wailing over the jangly guitars and plodding bass.

The six-song EP ends with one of SBM's oldest, most recognizable songs, "Telephone, Telephone," which brings closure to the band's four-year stretch of hard work and frustration. Sadly, the release of the EP was punctuated by the departure of Simms from the band. The remaining three members will continue on under the same name; when they re-surface, they will have a new singer, new songs and a new sound.

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