Six months ago Petrov was just a group of musicians connected through Craigslist. Now, this week they’re releasing one of 2019’s more impressive debuts in the form of the Sleep Year EP. Musically, they’re the sort of band that would immediately be labeled “emo” were they from Philadelphia (they hail from Charlotte, NC), and likely only really out of laziness. Their sound is admittedly fairly unique, mixing influences from pop, indie rock, and punk to create a synthesis that captures the best aspects of each.
The catchy opener “Divine Wine” shows this all off in a punchy four-and-a-half minute package, a catchy pop-rock tune wrapped in a slightly mathy riff. It’s not too far a cry from the sound that Somos cultivated on First Day Back, a sort of progressive pop-punk. It’s a sound Petrov perfects on “By All Means,” a midtempo rocker that features the band’s strongest hook and vocalist Mary Grace McKusick’s best performance on Sleep Year. Unfortunately, it’s also a good example of the EP’s biggest pitfall; McKusick’s vocals tend to get buried under the layers of guitar on the album. While the guitar work is certainly impressive, McKusick’s performances are consistently stellar as well, and when the hooks are this prominent, it would be nice to be able to sing along easier.
Nonetheless, this is not a dealbreaker; Petrov has still crafted a memorable debut. Next time around, presumably, they can clean up the production and allow the songs to shine. But for now Sleep Year should be more than enough to hold us over.