What makes a good band stand out from a great band is its ability to grow musically and experiment with a variety of sounds. That’s exactly what Chicago-based band Belmont has done on its new extended play (EP) “Reflections,” released March 13.
“Around 2014, 2015 we were all in high school living in different parts of Chicago,” drummer Brian Lada said on how the band got started in an interview with The Phoenix. “Basically the power of the internet brought us all together.”
The band experienced changes in members throughout its first years, but has remained a progressive punk band that released its first EP in 2015 and first full-length album in 2018.
“We wanted to do this EP before we did our next album, because we felt there was a little bit of growing we could do as a group,” guitarist and backup vocalist Sam Patt said. “That growing had to do with songwriting, finding the right producers and getting more experience.”
Opening the EP with an experimental, hip-hop sound, “By My Side” proves the band’s ability to grab its audience by the collar with an instant hit. Released as a single in September, the band said it wanted the first song on its EP to be something that sounded different from the rest of its discography, according to Patt.
The first three songs on the EP deal with life’s emotional weight and trying to get rid of it.
“‘By My Side,’ this song was written on the road a lot,” lead vocalist Taz Johnson said. “Trying to figure out what’s important and what means a lot to you while being so far away from home just kind of makes everything feel a lot bigger than it actually is, so the whole song reflects on those emotions.”
“Back and Forth” layers a colorful guitar part throughout the song with contrasting lyrics about trying to do what’s right and failing. “Deadweight” opens with Johnson loudly singing about struggling to deal with carrying the weight of someone else’s problems.
Belmont began its tour with rock band Tiny Moving Parts March 11, but only lasted three shows after being canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
“We are just going to grind as hard as we can with recording and being on the road,” Lada said regarding the band’s plan for the rest of the year. “We are going to be going in for our second full-length album after this tour basically.”
The album, which Belmont hopes to begin working on this year, will be “a cohesive piece that establishes where Belmont’s at this point in our lives,” Patt said. The album will be a continuation of the variety of sounds established in “Reflections,” according to the band.
“Not to sound corny, but we don’t let anyone kind of tell us what to do or tell us what to sound like,” Lada said. “We really just stay true to ourselves and we are not afraid to try different things.”
“Reflections” is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify.