by Alex Wexelman (@AlexWexelman)
The idiom about leading a horse to water is a platitude, sure, but there’s an aphoristic truth to the obstinacy one faces in attempting to change someone. The absurdity of this exercise reoccurs across the five songs that comprise Celebration Guns’ The Me That Used to Be— an EP whose message is that sometimes those who seem like a waste of time can in fact teach us something valuable. This realization, however ironic, only occurs upon meditation following personal growth.
The consistency of the EP’s themes make it feel like a concept album about maturation told from the perspective of one flawed individual. His growing pains are apparent in the way that our protagonist holds himself in a superior position to his contemporaries whom he dismisses in song after song. “I know you’re never going to change your mind,” he intones to one such disdainful person on the flippant “Have It Your Way.”
The Arizona four piece bills itself as indie pop, but their reflective lyrics and melodic guitar lines hint at an eighth grade emo obsession they’re trying to obfuscate through the mathy pulse that drives the songs. An array of instruments—from the opening xylophone chimes to the closing synthesizer meltdown on “The Volunteer”—add intriguing textures to a set of direct and catchy rock songs.
It’s on album closer “The Me That Used to Be” that our protagonist rises from the ranks of those he disparages and realizes he is complicit in undoing relationships. In its most salient line, he sings, “there was love when you spoke to me / was I listening?” The answer: most likely no. But, to throw another platitude your way, sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.