House Plants: Hayward Hills EP Review

I am emo music trash. It is just a simple fact of life that if you give me good emo music, I am going to eat it up. And House Plants are serving up some damn good emo music.

House Plants are a band from San Antonio, Texas that consist of Eric Bustamante, vocals and guitar, Robert Stewart, lead guitar and Nate Lujan, drums and vocals. Their music is emo with a lot of pop punk flair. They take inspiration from artists like Hot Mulligan, Knuckle Puck and Free Throw. They released their second EP, Hayward Hills, August 6, 2019. It was produced by Trey Karnes and the cover art was created by Jada Garcia.

Photo borrowed from Google Images

Hayward Hills is a recollection of what it’s like to deal with social anxiety, self-hatred, depression and heartbreak. Listening to this EP feels like taking a random drive with your friends where you end up spilling your guts about what’s been happening in your life lately. The songs feel deeply cathartic and authentic without seeming whiney, which is an issue for a lot of emo and pop-punk bands. House Plants knows how to be emo without being cliché.

What is so great about this album for me is how relatable these songs are. The third track “Y=Mx+ It Be Like That Sometimes” has such a fun title but dark subject matter which is fitting because humor is a coping mechanism. We all know what it’s like to be bored with [yourself] and wishing you could change everything about yourself.

My favorite song from this 5-track EP has to be “Empty.” The repeated guitar riff gets stuck in your head and makes you want to listen to the song on repeat. I think we all have had moments where everything in our lives feels stagnant, our emotions are overbearing and sometimes you don’t know how you’re supposed to get through another day. You want to be someone else. You want to disappear. “Empty” encompasses that feeling so well and the instrumentals at the end feel like a sigh of relief. The song is sullen, but the music has a hopeful undertone that I appreciate.

“Bellevue Brian” sounds like being stuck in an anxious state of mind and dying to get out. I hate this place. Nothing works here. The song ends in a fit of screams and if that isn’t a perfect description of how anxiety makes you feel then I don’t know what is.

Hayward Hills is an all-around good listen, sonically and emotionally. Play it on repeat; I know I have. You can hear it for yourself on Spotify, Bandcamp and Apple Music.

Give it a listen, thank me later.

Photos by Lexus Jacobs