The U.K.’s Tonight Is Goodbye delivers an emo pop/punk on the four-song The Birds and The Bees EP that is fresher than most of what the aching genre delivers in its native U.S. It shouldn’t come as a great surprise that the band’s average age is seventeen, between their teen-popular emo sound and their crisp take on that sound. Plus, this makes Tonight Is Goodbye immune to the one of the standard critiques of emo, namely that it consists of songs about high school, sung by men long since finished with college. While British imports tend to get dumbed-down when they come over to the states, this American export instead seems to go up-market in jolly ol’ England.
The Bird and The Bees opens with the shouted a cappella cry, “I’m wearing black shoes to a white wedding”, extremely reminiscent of hot MTV emo-dance band, Panic! At The Disco, but “Black Dress” delivers a riff-rock guitar chorus, and a voice that actually isn’t too overbearing. Better put together, with better lyrics, is the following “You and Your Tune”, which does suffer from a tempo-halting slow middle breakdown. Tonight Is Goodbye is at their best probably with “Criminal”, which is the most melodic piece on the EP, as well being really catchy. Finisher “I Can’t Read Lips… Unless They’re Touching Mine” veers more into the emo-heartache terrain, but doesn’t get whiney.
Tonight Is Goodbye has already opened for emo big shots like Taking Back Sunday and Alexisonfire at London’s famed Brixton Academy, and the influence is clear to see. But instead of serving as a retread of a sometimes-unloved genre, with The Birds and The Bees EP, the boys from Britain have raised the genre’s tone, like an Englishman playing a bad guy in an American action movie.