Treatment is a New Bedford, MA-based quintet, debuting with the EP Slow Burn. Formed by lifelong friends Mike Kelleher (guitar) and Brian Benson (guitar) after acoustic songwriting sessions, the group now comprises Don Reed on drums and Mike Dunphy on vocals, as well as Ryan Briggs on bass. With influences across the spectrum of alternative music from Brand New’s emotional pop-punk to the post-hardcore churn of Alexisonfire, Treatment’s three-song set delivers an abbreviated version of that same variety.
The EP’s first track “The Greyhound Bus That Never Came” opens with vast washes of effected guitar with Dunphy delivering somber vocals as the instrumental starts to build. The post-rock soundscape is punctuated with titanic fills from Reed, and eventually a heavier rhythm guitar brings a simplicity back to the track, as Dunphy edges towards screaming. Moving from quiet desperation to a louder kind, “Greyhound Bus” demonstrates Treatment’s willingness to playing with emotional and musical dynamics, bridging hardcore punk tropes with something altogether more complex.
“Rut” has a more straightforward, mid-tempo punk backbone, evoking Joyce Manor or, even with Dunphy’s vocal stylings and the chiming guitars, a heavier Built to Spill. The “I’m in such a rut with you” refrain has a terse punch, and the scream in the heavy bridge introduces a torturous, dissonant moment into an otherwise level track. “Rut” is ostensibly Treatment’s more melodic, pop-leaning offering, but the band still works in shades of gray. It works well—what could be a dull moment instead engages with the unexpected.
The third and final track “Call Me Old Fashioned” has a wistful dual-guitar intro, settling into a syncopated pattern as Dunphy comes in with a shouty, conversational vocal. The chorus section has a classic sort of emo tension, and backup vocals carry some of the melodic content Dunphy rejects in favor of sheer catharsis. The tremolo-picked guitars rise to a triumphant high towards the end before feedback squeals carry the track home. “Call Me Old Fashioned” sees Treatment leave it all on the field, concluding the EP with the sheer emotional weight of the genre’s greats.
Though it’s only a slim view into the group’s potential, Slow Burn emphasizes the group’s uncompromising, ever-shifting approach in its brief runtime. Treatment has made a bold entrance with this EP, bringing potent instrumentals and pained lyrical content designed to be shouted along to. It will leave you looking for more or at least running the tracks on repeat.
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