”Greetings from this island life” is how lead vocalist Joseph Chiaramonte of Koyo sets the stage on “51st State,” the opening song from the band’s stellar debut LP Would You Miss It? Formed in Long Island, New York by five childhood friends who grew up together—Chiaramonte, guitarists Harold Griffin and TJ Rotolico, bassist Stephen Spanos, and drummer Salvatore Argento showcase their growth as a band that has released several marquee EPs that led them to this moment in time to finally deliver their most dramatic artistic statement to date on their first full-length record. The set was produced by Jon Markson (Drug Church, Regulate, One Step Closer) and it features some collaborations with Glassjaw, The Movielife, and Vein.fm to keep things remarkably interesting. Koyo have been road warriors as of late, having shared stages with I Am The Avalanche, Bayside, and No Pressure, and this live experience pays off widely on a set of songs that blast off of the speakers with vibrant energy. With such great momentum going in this band’s favor, Koyo could very well be this year’s breakthrough artist in the genre, much like how Turnstile knocked everyone on their collective asses with 2021’s Glow On. Would You Miss It? is filled with slick hardcore hooks, and showcases a band coming into their own at just the right moment in time.
From the singles that have been released, such as the guitar-heavy “You’re On The List (Minus One),” to the circle pit ready anthem “Life’s A Pill,” Koyo are aware of their strengths as a band, and they hone in on these elements to put their best feet forward. On the latter single, Chiaramonte sings passionately on the chorus of, “Turning to the life we lead / Like a bullet that deals no pain / And I don’t wanna talk cause I’ll start breaking down / And the words will make it real then I’m living this hell / Turn, and burn / And carry on / And it feels like nothings changed / Put it on ice / For now and we’ll just drive / And look the other way,” as he laments on his connection to friends and family.
”I Might Not” features a great dueling-guitar riff from Harold Griffin and TJ Rotolico that perfectly complement the vocal barbs being brought forth from Chiaramonte. Drummer Salvatore Argento is also worth a shout-out here, as his underrated performance on songs like this showcase his impressive pacing and ability to mix in fills when needed to make each lyric click directly into place. “Flatline Afternoon” brings forth a more sensitive side of the band as Chiaramonte somberly opens with, “0, 1, 2 / Three days from a flatline afternoon / What I’d do / Go through / To taste a second of the life that I once knew / When I was young,” and the way he navigates the heavy lyrical material is as heartbreaking as it is commendable.
The appropriately-titled “Anthem” lives up to its name, and is sure to be a staple in Koyo’s electric live shows for the forseeable future. My personal favorite on the record comes on the back half’s “Sayonara Motel” that just feels like it belongs among the emo/punk/hardcore elites with its shimmering production and stellar musical delivery by Koyo. It’s one of the shorter songs on Would You Miss It? yet it feels massive, and reminds me about everything I love in regards to the hardcore genre of music. Koyo have the musical chops to remain in this genre’s heavy-hitters, and they don’t plan to back off anytime soon.
The dual-punch of “Message Like a Bomb” featuring Glassjaw and “What’s Left To Say” featuring The Movielife make the back half of LP seem that much more memorable in its delivery, and eventually, its legacy. On “Message Like a Bomb,” the harmonies from Palumbo and Chiaramonte are as soothing as they are utterly powerful, and it’s great that these two bands could make the connection on a song like this. “What’s Left To Say” takes full advantage of Vinnie Caruana’s strengths as a vocalist, and the collaborations found on this record are all appropriate, never forced, and feel like a band ready to take the next giant leap towards superstardom.
”Postcards” rocks along with a bouncy guitar riff that is sure to get fans of more emo-leaning bands like Taking Back Sunday and The Movielife excited in the direction Koyo is going here, while the album closer of “Crushed” plays off like a victory lap, of sorts, for a band that has fully arrived on their debut record. Koyo will continue to improve as they play show-after-show, and that’s a very great thing for fans of melodic hardcore music. Would You Miss It? is an album that you’re glad exists in the same timeline of our lives.