By Carly Tagen-Dye
Kansas City band The Greeting Committee is nothing short of a good time. Anyone who has ever indulged in their music or attended one of their shows knows the drill: Bang your head. Jump around. Cry when needed. Spread kindness.
The group—comprised of lead singer Addie Sartino, guitarist Brandon Yangmi, bassist Pierce Turcotte, and drummer Austin Fraser—feels more like a family at times. Their 2018 debut record This Is It introduced listeners to their upbeat and intuitive songs, providing a coming-of-age soundtrack for many fans alike. The band’s latest release, a four-track EP entitled “I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry,” however, takes a turn for the even more emotive. Though just under fifteen minutes long, it packs a punch straight to the gut, balancing the old with the new, bringing the unsaid forward as a listening point. In fact, it might just be the most vulnerable The Greeting Committee has ever been.
Produced by Jake Luppen of Hippo Campus, “I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry” is an irresistible mix of indie, pop, and alternative rock. Atmospheric opening track “Cry Baby” transports us into the hive mind of this group, one that works in sync and with sincerity. Sartino, who has never been one for shying away from vulnerability, croons about the brutality of opening up. Lyrics like, “I wanna be happy even if it kills me/ it probably will,” and “I’m so afraid of dying that I’ve stopped living,” push forward darker, more honest themes. “Simply Surviving” brings back the bouncy, guitar-heavy sound The Greeting Committee has found a home in. Still, through the frenetic beats, there is a want for stability on the speaker’s part. The track’s hook, “I wanna be happy, I wanna be alright,” is a universal wish that many listeners can likely agree with.
“What If Tomorrow Never Comes” blasts us with a The Strokes-like chord progression. The chorus proclaims, “There is tomorrow, but I can’t even make it through today”—lingering throughout the lyrics is a battle of hope and hopelessness, or perhaps awareness of what is truly going on.
“I’m Afraid” ends in a cacophony: Sartino giving a declaration of freedom in “Call In The Morning” and it feels as if the band is speaking right to you. Through lyrics about gun control and tearing through childhood memories—“What the hell is love for anyway?”— they tread carefully, reaching for the parts of us that ache to be recognized. It’s about waiting for the ones we love, about waiting for a better day.
As the record comes to a close, we are left with a better mindset about what lies ahead.
“I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry” is clearly made with much in mind. Underneath the danceable tunes lies intense introspection on how we feel and how we are able to transform into who we are today. The Greeting Committee has always been mature in their musings, however, this EP highlights the clear growth of these four high school friends who played coffee shops just a few years ago. Sartino’s pen is one that touches gently and with quiet consideration; these songs feel like letters of encouragement to the band’s fans, as well as to themselves.
It’s okay not to feel okay. Whatever you’re going through, The Greeting Committee will be there to help you through it.