The cover art for the Chips & Salsa EP by Willis is silly. It’s giggle worthy perhaps due to the fact that it just seems absurd. Further inquiry on the band's Facebook page one would surmise that the band is young. They might still be in high school for I know. From the cover art, to the title of the EP, to the pictures it’s obvious that the band is all about having fun and not taking the music too seriously. It’s a good attitude because it’s predominantly the way kids around that age act.
The most endearing aspect of Chips & Salsa is the band never gets in over their head. They are singing about sitting on their best friend’s couch or getting rejecting by the girl you have a crush on. The themes work because if you're older the music is nostalgic yet not contrived and if you’re in the same age range you can relate.
The first song “Chips and Salsa” is the highlight of the EP. It contains inventive fun guitar work during the verse that is ear candy. The vocals are expressive and dynamic when the vocalist sings, “The Border Patrol confiscated my Visa / Show me the way to chips and salsa / Hurry up and chop down my balsa / Sorry honey, I'm not looking to hug ya.” Once the chorus comes the band relies on punk inspired vocal harmonies and chord progressions. It works.
On “Better In My Dreams” the band deviates from the style we are introduced to on the first song. It’s more or less a ballad that revolves around clean guitars and a slower pace. The lyrics are well written and avoid a lot of the clichés you would expect from a band this young.
The band returns to an upbeat and festive punk style with “Two Shoes Blues” while “Julianne” explores rejection and fascination in a way that has you rooting that the guy gets the girl. The closer “Speed Dial 9” revolves around an acoustic guitar and vocals. Another solid song.
Chips & Salsa EP is far from perfect and the band has a way to go before they can compete with the best music today has to offer but the band is in a good place. They have some talent and Chips & Salsa builds a very solid foundation for them to build off of.
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