That feeling of being trapped, that feeling of trying to cope with grief or loss while trying to face yourself: these are feelings I think we all can relate to, especially after this heavy year. It’s those feelings—of needing to let go, but desperately wanting to hold on—that are explored in Rusted Hearts’ new pop-punk EP Waiting Room, the second EP in a trilogy that will be completed with the final instalment in early 2021.
Rusted Hearts, comprised of Patrick Farmer of Dead Leaves and Michael Taddeo of Motives, as well as Nate Gliebe and Christian DeLaat, was formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 2019. Since the release of their first EP, Return Home, the band has played shows with Better Love, Better Off, and Overgrow.
“Waiting Room” presents vulnerability through raw vocals and honest lyrics that remind me of music by bands like Can’t Swim, Tiny Moving Parts, and Signals Midwest. Lead vocalist/guitarist Farmer, says of the EP on their website:
“Waiting Room as a whole is about attempting to push your way through grief. Feeling stuck in this place not knowing where to go, what to do, or even how it’s supposed to feel from there on out. You’re just stuck in the waiting room waiting for comfort to call your name.”
And that’s definitely the mood all six of the songs on the EP create as they immerse the listener in a cohesively-themed arch that begins with the track “Sleeping:” a confident yet melancholy upbeat instrumental that ties seamlessly into the next track.
I was especially struck by the EP’s tracks “Give & Take” and “Waiting Room.” “Give & Take” presents an upbeat and seemingly happy pop-punk tune that contrasts the sobering lyrics that contemplate life’s ups and downs, along with the fear it all brings, with lines like “I’m still trying to learn why life gives and it takes.”
The closing track that gives the EP its name, “Waiting Room,” echoes the established mood along with guitar reverbs and lyrics that don’t just leave the listener stuck, but provide a little light in the chaos with the repeating lines of “I was always enough just to want to make myself clear.” The sudden end to the last song, however, does leave me waiting for something more: possibly a purposeful way to emphasize the EP’s meaning, possibly a way to emphasize that the story won’t be complete until the final piece of the trilogy is released next year.
Waiting Room EP Track List:
4. Give & Take
5. Sleep Talking
6. Waiting Room