Have you ever been hit up by a complete creep on Facebook? That’s the exact scenario I found myself in while being introduced to Pittsburgh’s very own pop-punk outfit, Alta View. The creep in question? Frontman Dominic Bucci. He’s such a creep! All joking aside, Dominic is reviving his past through Alta View, a band he started back in 2014 while living in the sun-soaked glow of Los Angeles. Through this modern-lens revival, Alta View has released a brand new EP titled, Counting Scars.
The real question Dominic and listeners need to ask themselves is if Alta View even belongs in today’s pop-punk scene or if this former pop-punk group has already missed their spotlight. Is Counting Scars the answer to these questions? Let’s find out.
Quite possibly the best track Counting Scars has to offer… Sike! “Express Checkout” is a quick-to-start intro piece that serves its purpose beautifully, and introduces listeners to the EP’s narrative with ease, and gives us all a little tease on the band’s instrumental quality throughout this new release. It’s a quick thirty-second track that shouldn’t be skipped while jumping into the EP’s “real” opening track, “Too Young.” What? Didn’t think I’d review a thirty-second intro piece? Guess you better think again. It’s also worth noting that I’m looking forward to “Express Checkout” opening Alta View’s future live shows, as it’s the perfect tone of urgency that will get fans riled up quickly.
The flow between “Express Checkout” into “Too Young” is perfection to my ears. A fast-paced blur of sound wraps listeners into a whirlwind of emotion as they’re catapulted into Alta View’s more “traditional” pop-punk sound of yesteryear. A nice refresher of what pop-punk used to be in the times of The Years Gone By, Forget Me In Vegas, and to certain extents even a little As It Is for emotional flare. A time capsule of sound that reignites the mosher in me, something not felt while listening to more modern pop-punk.
Instrumentally, “Too Young” has all the memorable riffs and drum beats one can ask for. There is just the right amount of ear-blowing sound to keep one’s heart rate up while having a one-person party, singing, and jumping throughout the house. This one is pure fun and has me hooked as a fan for life.
Lyrically, Counting Scars‘ opening number is your usual pop-punk written love affair. It’s a catchy song that will have listeners singing along to each lyric with ease after just a few listens. This one I can’t wait to hear live; I can already experience the sweat that will be dripping from my hair moshing along with other pop-punk fans.
Personally, my favorite track off Counting Scars is “Remember Me.” Who doesn’t love a good slower-paced acoustic-focused track written with the same love and care of more fast-paced and chaotic pop-punk tunes? “So, if you’re looking for a masterpiece/Then maybe you should run away from me,” lyrics written with truth, love, and the emotional capacity to admit to one’s faults. “Remember Me” has it all! Listeners will experience despair, uncontrollable love, and a lens into the soul as “Remember Me” aches and breaks along the soundwaves.
Featuring the fantastically talented Maggie Schneider of glimmers, “Remember Me” pulled on my heartstrings more than I honestly thought it would. These are the tracks Travis Barker’s brand of pop-punk is missing out on. But, thanks to acts like Alta View, we’re reminded what an emotionally charged acoustic piece can do to one’s emotional stores once they’re overflowing. Instrumentally, “Remember Me” is just fun and had me wanting to pick up my guitar in a heartbeat to learn its infectious opening riff.
Back to Maggie Schneider, can this woman sing or what? The vocals presented between Maggie and Dominic are a complete eargasm! Out of the five tracks featured on Counting Scars, “Remember Me” is the one I had on repeat the most, and it’s all thanks to the whimsical and dire nature of both of these vocalist’s vocal qualities as they dance within the mind and snapshot a moment in time to remember always.
“Prisoner” isn’t my favorite track on Alta View’s latest EP, but it’s not a bad song. I’m a very truthful person, and when it comes to this track, I’ll be honest, throughout my various listens of Counting Scars, “Prisoner” each and every time happened to be the track I would skip over the most. I have yet to put my finger on it, but I want to say it has something to do with the unfortunate placement of coming after the phenomenal tune “Remember Me.”
“Prisoner” follows the same mellow tones of “Remember Me” while also revving up Alta View’s engine once more to bring Counting Scars back in line with the high-paced energy featured throughout “Too Young.” Instrumentally, I did have a fun time with “Prisoner,” but personally, I can’t seem to bring myself to learn much of the track’s lyrics to sing along.
As with everything, music holds different values depending on the listener. So, while I didn’t have that great of a time with “Prisoner,” that’s not to say, listeners that aren’t me might cling on to it the way I do with “Remember Me.” Only time will tell as more give Counting Scars a well-deserved listen.
Re-imaging a song is never quite that easy. Luckily for Alta View, their transition of “Peasants” from a full-blow pop-punk anthem to an intimate coffeehouse acoustic tune was seamless. “Peasants” continues to be a great musical experience, just better now since I’m a sucker for acoustic. “Failure to me is 40 hours a week/Supporting the people I won’t get to see” still holds true and will help listeners relate to “Peasants” on an emotional level as they sit and re-think the nature of their own life-work ratio.
Acoustically, “Peasants” resonates a lot brighter when compared to its 2015 released counterpart. Making the past brand new seems to be Dominic’s bread and butter as he manages to repackage a 2015 powerhouse pop-punk mosh-fest into a beautifully articulate ballad of hopeful expression. A wonderful new lease on life for a song that should have no right to be forgotten.
Bookending a fantastic EP, Alta View gives listeners one last time to rock out in the form of “Dread.” Emotionally, “Dread” continues to weave the threads of emotional dystopia and a complete open-thinking utopia. A quick end that cuts like a blade, “Dread” comes for the heartstrings as the track’s blaring instrumentals provide a blood-soaked backdrop dying to be set free.
“Dread” wraps up the narrative of Counting Scars quickly, neatly, and wonderfully. Captivating with the unending energy featured throughout “Too Young” and the immense fear featured throughout “Prisoner.” “Dread” has it all. Keeping listeners wanting more, “Dead” sets up Alta View for a future slamdunk as they continue to evolve their sound and reveal themselves as a pink and purple fluttering butterfly from a dying cocoon, no more.
Alta View’s spotlight might be dim, but it’s just powering up. Counting Scars proves this newly returning pop-punk outfit from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is just getting started, so listeners should forget what they think they know and, in turn, prepare for a ride of complete sound and emotion as Dominic Bucci is just getting started.
If you’d like to keep tabs on what Alta View has coming up next, make sure to connect with them via Instagram. If you’d like to stream Counting Scars an unimaginable amount of times like myself, you can do so now via your favorite streaming service.