Nonstarter play a throwback style of melodic skate-punk that harkens back to the spirit of Bigwig, Belvedere, or Downway; reading like a love letter to all those snowboarding videos and mid-90s punk compilations.
On their debut 5 song EP ‘Seasoned Stuntman’, Nonstarter give us a polished brand of melodic hardcore that you might mistake for Strung Out or A Wilhelm Scream. Nonstarter seem to lean more on the mid-paced metal-melodic side of skate-punk, rather than the chaotic and frantic Nardcore side; their strong emphasis on a polished melody make every song sound like an epic boss battle from your favourite old-school video game.
Thematically, the EP focuses on the concept on failure, and how to recover from it gracefully. The slick production and the sick riffs might clue the listener that although this is the first release from Nonstarter, this isn’t their first rodeo, they’ve paid their dues in past bands, they are in fact Seasoned Stuntmen. While some of their meditations on failure and rehabilitation are open ended and nondescript, their best lyrical moments paint a picture of authentic growth that transcends rockstar vanity and external validation:
“Yet we keep holding to this tether
But not for what it seems
Given what we know
New direction, new perspectives”
While they do throw a “jah”-inspired curveball, I would have liked to hear them stray a bit more from the conventional skate-punk path. They’ve shown that they know how to play, they just need to find a way to stand out from the other bands in their genre; Once they figure out how to do that, we’ll all be wearing Airwalks and doing kickflips again. But who knows? Maybe good old-fashioned skate-punk is fine as is; it’s still huge in Québec and Australia, it feels like it’s due for a resurgence (maybe their next EP can be about dealing with success, Ha!). I’d give “Seasoned Stuntman” a solid recommendation to skate punk fans hungry for new bands or burnt out musicians who need a thesis on why we do this.
For fans of: IVS, Strung Out, Adrenalized, A Wilhelm Scream