SETTLE YOUR SCORES DISCUSS FORTHCOMING ALBUM "RETROFIT"
written by: meg
Since their inception in 2015, Settle Your Scores have been making waves within the pop-punk and easycore scene. The quintet has made a name for themselves with their 2016 debut “The Wilderness” and the highly-anticipated 2018 sophomore effort “Better Luck Tomorrow.” It’s been nearly three years since then, but the summer of 2021 is bound to be big for the band as they prepare for the release of their third LP, “Retrofit.”
With a quick Google search, you’ll learn that “retrofit” means to “add a component to something that did not already have it when manufactured,” and that title is pretty fitting for the record because of how the band puts their own spin on the genres of music they grew up on.
“The title is more-so a reference to us taking something that’s already been done (2000s pop-punk) and adding our own modern twist to it,” guitarist/vocalist Ricky Uhlenbrock explains, “I’ve always sort of felt like our band and our music never quite fit in with the current scene, but 10 or 20 years ago we’d feel right at home, so the title is also a nod to that. That being said, we absolutely made it a point to approach this album differently.”
Speaking of approaching this album differently, another way that Settle Your Scores did so was through the creative process. As their music has evolved over the course of their career, their songwriting process did the same, and when these songs were written and composed, the band ended up switching things up a little bit.
“The writing process varies from song to song but the biggest difference on this album is I really prioritized the vocals and built everything else around them. Our previous albums were a lot more guitar driven, and the songs were usually built around riffs,” Ricky says about the differences in the writing process, “This time around, I really wanted the vocals to shine so I wrote instrumentals with a little more breathing room. I know a lot of people will miss all those riffs and breakdowns, but I think the lyrics and melodies really benefited from it and the songs are a lot stronger as a result.”
The singles that the band has released from this album thus far touch on a couple of different topics, with “Meant For Misery” focusing on mental health and “1999” and “The Way Things Used To Be” centering around nostalgia and reminiscing on simpler moments in time. Those aren’t the only things discussed on “Retrofit,” and there’s even more variety to be found throughout the rest of the record in regards to the lyrical themes.
“This album has a really great variety of subject matter. That was one of the ways I wanted to challenge myself as a songwriter on this album. It’s very easy to get complacent and write 10 songs about the same thing, but I really enjoy hearing bands tackle a wide array of lyrical themes,” Ricky reveals about the wide range of topics discussed in the lyrics this time around, “‘QWERTY’ is about our addiction to technology and social media. ‘High Spirits’ is written from the perspective of an alcoholic. ‘Streets Ahead’ is me sort of venting my frustrations with the music industry. It’s probably our darkest album yet but also our most fun.”
"THIS ALBUM IS A DIFFERENT DIRECTION FOR US, BUT I THINK IT STILL ENCAPSULATES WHO WE ARE AS A BAND."
When the band got around to recording the record, they worked with Nick Ingram, a producer who not only has worked with the likes of City Lights and Hawthorne Heights, but who also recorded “The Wilderness.”
“Working with Nick has always been a very positive experience. We had a great time recording The Wilderness with him and it’s fair to say we’ve all come a long way since then. This time around we spent a lot more time on vocals and production, adding and experimenting with different layers and effects. Subtle stuff that most people don’t really think about but I think it really helped elevate the songs and I’m very proud of what we came up with.”
Since the release of “The Wilderness” back in 2016, the band’s sound has evolved, and that growth and evolution is showcased very clearly with the songs on “Retrofit.” The album brings a polished pop-punk sound to the table, and still feels like a Settle Your Scores album.
“We’ve all grown a lot since then, both as musicians and as people. This album is a different direction for us but I think it still encapsulates who we are as a band. A lot less heaviness on this one for sure but the songwriting is better than ever,” Ricky says about what people can expect from the remaining tracks on the record, “This record is a love letter to early 2000s pop-punk. We wore our inspirations on our sleeve with this one. It’s bouncy, fun music with the catchiest hooks you’ve heard in a while and some clever, poignant lyricism. We’re not trying to revolutionize pop-punk here, we’re just trying to create the absolute best songs we can. I could keep rambling on and on, but I think the music speaks for itself. So give Retrofit a listen on Aug. 20th and you can be the judge!”
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“Retrofit” will be released on August 20th, 2021 via Mutant League Records. You can pre-order here and stream the latest single, “The Way Things Used To Be,” below: