DC emo natives Origami Angel have returned with their newest release, entitled ‘The Brightest Days’. It marks their first release since 2022 “DEPART” and “re:turn” EP’s, and it just shows how constantly this brand grinds on releasing new music on a consistent level. This release is no exception, as it elevates the band’s positive and kinetic energy that they’ve incorporated into a lot of their discography. And it feels like they’ve centered this release around a more warm and beach-like sort of environment, literally. It just shows how unique this band is, in comparison to their peers within the genre…or even scene as a whole.
It opens with the title track (not that one) of this release, and the positive vibes come right off the bat with a ukulele sing-along intro. It build up to an insane main riff, which highlights how this band can switch sounds on a dime and it feeling natural. It has a real walking down the street all giddy kind of vibe, which describes a lot of Origami Angel‘s material in general. I appreciate this release starting off with something that feels like classic material from this band, you love to see it. The lyrics of the opening track dive into wanting to capture that feeling of glee you had as a kid, something I’m sure everyone can relate to at some point. It’s continued on with the first single, “Thank You, New Jersey” which continues on that kinetic energy. I can safely say that this song in particular goes hard live and it’s a crowd favorite. It’s no surprise when vocalist/guitarist Ryland Heagy is delivering us bars in that first verse. It has a catchy chorus, which certainly won’t be the last we hear from this release. The guitar and the drums from drummer Pat Doherty really shine here as it’s always been a highlight with this band. They also captured that “feeling like I’m on an island” mood with that bridge, truly wild. We continue on with “Picture Frame”, which starts off with a midwestern-emo kind of riff reminiscent of Blink-182. The vibe of this track feels so nice, as it flows beautifully. The second verse going into the chorus is a great example of how good this band is. The drums and the guitar go hard once again here, and it’s just a standout track overall.
It transitions so well into the next track, being “Kobayashi Maru (My Very Own)”. It reminds me of something from the early 2000’s; almost a ska vibe. This song definitely emphasizes how good this band is at delivering fast lines and how the energy can switch up from chill to chaotic in a second. I can definitely see this track in particular going over well live with their fans, especially during that breakdown. It’s also insane to realize how good the instrumentation is, when it’s only two people in this band. Also shoutout to one of the best lyrics here, with “Tell me how I’m gonna be jealous of an energizer battery”…nothing short of a poet. We follow up with possibly the catchiest song on here, with “Second Best Friend”. The vibe of this whole song, being on the same wavelength as a song like “Skeleton Key” but brighter, makes it a definite highlight of this release. It fits right in the middle here, with wholesome lyrics to sing along to and melodies that’ll get stuck in your head. I can see this one being a fan favorite when it’s all said and done. It transitions once again with calming waves into the next song, with “Looking Out”. It’s a short ukulele song that plays perfectly into the vibe of this whole release, with just how uplifting and bright it feels. It feels almost purposely placed after the last track, like it’s a footnote of sorts within the lyrics.
We’re onto the home stretch of the release with the penultimate track and second single, “My PG County Summer”. This was my favorite single of the two and it’s a perfect reason why I love Origami Angel. The synth during the main riff of the song goes extremely hard, and I appreciate all the different styles they like to go for. It’s also reminiscent of the signature kind of sound that comes out from this band, and let’s not forget another catchy ass chorus here. It’s really nice to hear a song about where I’m from, I’m not used to it and long live the DMV. Reagy once again delivers some absolute bars during the second verse, where I wonder how he’ll continuously deliver these lines in a live setting. We’ve reached the end with the closing track, “Few and Far Between”. It feels somewhat reminiscent of 2019’s “Somewhere City”, to where it even brings back the opening lyrics from the first track to close out the final track…something I’m always such a sucker for. It delivers an excellent pre-chorus and chorus, and the guitar work in the bridge is masterclass for sure. I can definitely see this one going over extremely well live, maybe even as a new closer for their sets. This also definitely feels like an instant standout in their discography as a whole and it reminds me of a simpler time while listening to it. And once again, the waves in the background at the end really nail down the whole aesthetic and feel of this.
In summary, Origami Angel have added an incredibly solid addition to their discography with ‘The Brightest Days’. I find myself wishing there were more tracks than the 8 we got, but they didn’t waste any time on any of them. This release shows how they’ve grown in their songwriting since their first two LP’s while still keeping their identity in tact. It also shows just how unique this band is in their sound as it’s continually progressing. This is easily one of the best releases of the year for me, and I’m happy we have this band representing emo from this area.
Check out the video for “Thank You, New Jersey” below.