Review: Isaiah Dominguez Puts Hardships on Honest Display with ‘Evergreen State’ EP


In a post-pop-punkalyptic world, this EP would play on repeat in the Pacific Northwest. Isaiah Dominguez‘s Evergreen State is rife with poppy tunes, thick guitar riffs, and haunting melodic lead-ins. The lyrics on this EP are heartfelt and compelling in a maturity that is welcome to anyone who is searching for a set of songs that are honest in growing up.

I really, really, really, really, like this EP. The opening song “Run” brings up images of what you might do in Seattle and the surrounding area. It grabs you and propels you forward through forests of grungy guitar riffs and races down sonic highways lined with trees. “The Closer” keeps that haunting undertone and upbeat pace, with easily relatable lyrics. Amanda Markley, a local artist you should probably check out, lends her vocals to the beautifully wistful “16.” “Evergreen State” and the lush “Landlocked” reflect a gorgeous state of moving forward. The bonus tracks “Don’t Forget” and “No Matter Where” continue on that same reflective thought process, invoking artists like The Shins and Good Charlotte.

Like I said, I really like this EP, and I really want to love it, but I can’t. Isaiah Dominguez sings his heart out with a great deal of emotion, the tracks are well produced, but in a world of auto-tune, I cannot overlook the pitch problems of his vocals. There’s the double edged sword. Does he auto-tune the crap out of his vocals? Then when people show up at a show and listen to him, would they say, “That dude can’t sing as well as he did on the CD,” or does he just put it out there with how he actually sounds? I applaud him for the bravery of not using auto-tune, but it does affect the times I’m going to spin it.

This should not deter you from picking up the EP, because the songwriting and the production, I feel, is enough to overcome the pitch problems. Is it enough for a world conditioned by auto-tune to overlook? I hope so.

(The Evergreen State EP is set for release on February 5th, but you can preorder it via iTunes here. Preordering will save you $3.00 compared to when it releases next month.)

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