Skip to content

A Post-New Year’s Kick From One Step Closer

Has the start of the New Year been a drag? Need something to give it a good punch-to-face for a kickstart? One Step Closer gives you that punch in their latest surprise EP Songs for the Willow.

One Step Closer is a melodic hardcore band coming from Pennsylvania. They have been growing attention to themselves within the hardcore scene ever since their formation in 2016. Before getting signed to Run for Cover records they released EPs including One Step Closer, Promo, and From Me to You. The band was signed to Run for Cover in 2021 ahead of the release of their first album This Place You Know. This year looks to be gearing up as one to look at for the band and it all begins with their newest release Songs for the Willow. 

Album cover of One Step Closer's Songs for the Willow

Songs for the Willow was released on January 10, 2023 as a surprise drop from the band. It is a three song EP, and just because it is short doesn’t mean the impact doesn’t hit. This is a perfect EP that makes you want more from the group, especially if you are a first time listener to the band. It is a great addition to their repertoire as they build on their melodic hardcore roots by adding emotions that makes the listener feel like they wrote them with the passion put behind it. It is an aura and feel that is carried from the first track all the way to the last.

It opens with the track “Deep Blue” which throws you head first into this record which delves into the feelings the band has about being a band and the experiences that they have been going through as of late. In this track the band tackles themes of loss during the changing of seasons and how someone is coping with that loss. The emotion that is painted in the song is brought on strong by the band as an entirety. On the musical side of things the song is hard hitting straight from the beginning and it just evolves as it goes on. Even though it is extremely hard hitting and intense at times, there is a sense of sorrowful beauty behind it that shines through with the addition of the vocals. Frontman Ryan Savitski lets all the emotions of sorrow and anger out. Lyrics like “Now that winter is gone/I want you close to get me through it” get emphasis as lines that strike hard when they need to. The outro of the song as a whole drives the emotions and the thoughts of loss is driven home by the band letting loss in all aspects while the lyrics “What do you know about love” is being repeated in the forefront. 

The next track is “Turn to Me” which is a bit of a lighter tonal shift compared to “Dark Blue,” with the guitars and vocals being more melodic throughout. This doesn’t take the listener out of it—or give whiplash—as it feels natural. As the more hardcore aspects are still there, they are just blended very nicely in with melodic aspects. It also works well with the themes where this song is more optimistic even if things are terrible. When talking about the song Savitski says, “Sometimes things happen and it changes relationships, and no matter how much you don’t want that to happen, it still does.” This statement perfectly captures this song perfectly. While things in this song remain optimistic, the reality of the situation falls through many times throughout showing that things do suck and they aren’t fully okay. It is something that most people can relate to having gone through before. It is a beautiful tragedy that is captured in the perfect melodic way by the band.

The final track on this record is the perfect wrap-up to this record as it encapsulates the first two songs and gives them a form of closure. It is a combo of the hardcore aspects of “Dark Blue” and the melodies of “Turn to Me” that feels cathartic and blissful. The blissfulness comes from the descriptions of the seasons in this track being used to push the themes being put under pressure by and just not being able to handle it all. “I’ll sink into a dream kiss goodbye reality/I’ll sink into a dream and kiss it goodbye/Kiss this goodbye” ends things on such a melancholy note but it’s almost as if the band is admitting it is okay and that it’s fine if things aren’t okay. The combo of melodic and heavy instrumentals with the heavy and melodic vocals is used best on this track. There are so many layers of things going on at all points with the two tones being combined throughout the song that it adds to this angry sadness the vocals insinuate. 

Overall, even though it is only January, Songs for the Willow is lining up to be my favorite release of the year. It is an energetic, angry, and sad EP that, even though the band was commenting of their state during their touring recently, it is something people can relate to. The band did a great job at balancing their sounds throughout the EP which leads to a ton of promise of the future of the band. Overall the only complaint I would have is that I want more music from the group which just means diving into older music! Currently the band is on tour which you can check out more information on their website.

Photo by Spencer Chamberlain
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *