Bridge The Border are a riff heavy punk band from Gippsland, Australia, who are releasing their debut EP, Congratulations, Everybody’s Gone. The EP features multiple guest appearances from Better Half’s Christopher Vernon, and Terra’s Cassie Sutton, and seems to utilise the full talents of every member of the band. The frontman role is predominantly taken up by guitarist Harley Nobelius, who sings lead vocals, but every member of the band chips in for their own vocal verses at times, which creates a fantastic diverse feel to every song where it is constantly someone different at the helm. The rest of the four piece is made up of Jake Van Roy (guitar, vocals), Darcy Handley (drums, vocals), and Ryan Qualizza (bass, vocals). Congratulations, Everybody’s Gone was produced, mixed, and mastered, by Christopher Vernon at Perception Studios, and I jumped in to give it a listen.
Track one “Places” was one of the singles released pre-release of the EP. From the start I am getting some almost blink-182 type vibes from these guys, as the fast style of verses and vocals are almost reminiscent of such things. The choruses are strong and catchy, and are built up to perfectly. The verses make you feel like you’re running. Running endlessly towards a goal, possibly a pool of some kind. It seems so far away, and seems like you are never going to get there. You keep running and running; the fast vocals and instrumentals seem like they are forever building to something. Then the chorus hits and everything makes sense. You dive in the pool and swim around, feeling weightless and dancing around underwater without the limits of gravity.
The bridge of “Places” is like you’re climbing a ladder up to a diving board. The suspense is killer, and you can’t wait to see what’s at the top, as the soft vocals and repeated belting of the snare drum creates all the hype in the world. The instrumentals kick back in and you jump, flying through the air, the wind blowing back your hair as you soar, feeling completely free. The sort of breakdown-y part is the perfect ending to such an action packed song, and releases all the tension and intensity that has built up during the song.
The second track off the EP, “Congratulations”, is the debut single which was released with its own music video. It is about helping yourself out of a fucked situation, and how hard that can be when that involves leaving someone behind. It is also calling out everyone who makes decisions involving drugs and alcohol that ruin the lives of those around them, as well as their own.
A huge amount of emotion can be heard in the vocals, whether they’re the powerful cleans of Harley, or the shredding screams of Darcy, this is an angry song. Christopher Vernon features in this track, and delivers a strong verse, tearing down those aforementioned shit people.
“Everybody’s gone, and you’re on your own. Congratulations.
How does it feel to be a fucking addict? Congratufuckinglations.”
You can see the emotion, and the story, behind this track as you listen. I see the anxiety, the stress, and the panicking; all of it about a friend who needs help. I can feel the pain they are going through through the vocals, while the friend in question is only worried about getting their next fix. Constant phone calls checking up on them are a necessity, until they stop answering…
Hands shaking, you get in the car. Fumbling with the keys and trying quickly to get to them. You drive to their house. Everything is a blur. They don’t answer the door, you go around the back and find an open window. Climbing in you run to the kitchen, find them unconscious on the floor. Needles lying next to them. They’re still breathing. This is fucked. This can’t keep happening. Fuck this, you think. As the chorus comes in you feel the relief as you realise that you don’t need this. That this person doesn’t care about anyone but themselves. You get up and leave, deciding that it isn’t your responsibility, and this person needs to help themselves. They’re responsible for ruining their own lives, and now they can’t affect yours. Congratulations, you’re free.
“Reflections” starts softer than most of the other tracks, and is actually more of a rocky emo anthem than a punk track. The gloomy guitars and moody vocals implant a sense of melancholy in your mind, as the track discusses a failed relationship. The powerful chorus provokes sadness, while you feel the regret that the song reflects through the differently toned clean vocals.
Looking at old photos, reminiscing, thinking about what could have been… The emotion of it all is overpowering, and sets this song apart from every other one on the EP. The simplicity but strength of the chorus makes it a stand out, and some particularly fierce guitar work in the bridge sets up for the most overwhelming section of music featured in this release. Wasted opportunities are in the past, and the final verse/chorus leaves you feeling triumphant and victorious, like you’re 100% ready to move on and kick life’s arse.
“G.O.O.N” has been out for over a year now via a music video on YouTube, and is track four on this EP. Heading straight back to the fast punk instrumentals, it brings back the more traditional punk rock sound. Lyrically it appears to be about the impending doom of a questionable relationship. It touches on the little things that signal the end, the snapping at one another, the constant fighting, the never feeling like you’re enough. It feels like this song is releasing everything that they wanna say, but don’t quite have the strength to get out. All the unsaid concerns and complaints, all the insecurities and issues; they are what this song is about.
“I knew deep down it would end like this.
I’m not sorry its over, cause this is who I am.”
It is also about moving on once this is done, and how that isn’t the end of everything. Life goes on, and bad times aren’t forever. The guest appearance from Terra’s Cassie Sutton makes the bridge more impressive, and makes the story told by the track seem more valid. As if it is a conversation between herself and the main vocalist, it works perfectly leading into the final chorus, and providing yet another enjoyable unique vocal sound.
The final track is “Spears,” which is a huge ending to Congratulations, Everybody’s Gone. Massive punk verses filled with emotion combine perfectly with an almighty chorus and it makes you wanna dance. It is about realising you aren’t happy with who you are, and how you need to get yourself away from whatever caused the unhappiness.
You are possibly recovering from a breakup, and don’t really know how to handle yourself. Pacing up and down the hall way you can’t silence the voices in your head, telling you it’s your fault, and you’re not good enough, and that’s why everything went wrong. You look in the mirror and don’t recognise who is looking back at you. The darkness under your eyes has been present for days; a reflection of the countless nights spent wide awake wondering whats wrong. How does someone from the past have such a hold on you?
Waking up to yourself, with the chorus and the punky breakdown towards the end, you pull yourself together. You open the blinds, letting the light flow in to what has been a place of darkness for a long time now. You’re taking charge of your own life, you’re durable. This has happened before and it will happen again. Life moves on. You move on. Kicking open the front door you run outside and embrace the light, breathe in the fresh hair, and get ready to get back to existing properly.
Bridge The Border have got some fantastic songs on Congratulations, Everybody’s Gone, that I personally will not be able to stop listening to. Whether its the catchy heart filled choruses, the melancholy verses, or the powerful bridges, it never fails to deliver. They have a strong unique sound that incorporates punk rock as well as hardcore influences, and are a treat to listen to.
Congratulations, Everybodys Gone, is out on June 29.
Strong unique sound that provides a good mix between punk rock and hardcore. Powerful vocals, especially where every member of the band goes between them and all contribute their own vocal verses at times.
Occasionally resorts to fairly generic punk verses.