Arkansas-based band Census continues to show the pop-punk scene that they are one of the most talented young bands in the scene, and they remind us of this with the release of their latest EP Everything Falls Apart on September 15th. The band is made up of lead singer Ben Carey, bassist Jathan Neider, guitarist Bo Sawyer, and drummer Jarrod Ives. They started releasing music in 2018 and are known for touring with Stand Atlantic in 2022 on their North American F.E.A.R. Tour. Their discography includes their iconic song "Ruin My Life," released in 2021, as well as "Traumatic Addict" with a notable feature from Rory Rodriguez of Dayseeker. But, with the tracks off of this latest EP, Census proves once again that they are making a name for themselves in the music industry.
Everything Falls Apart carries heavy themes of disappointment, pain, hurt, anger, and sadness with a tinge of introspection and hope. The poignant title "everything falls apart" represents personal struggles that the band experienced while creating the EP earlier in the year along with maturing as a band, but they were able to make it out the other side with this incredible project.
Kicking off the EP with "kinda fcked up," the group out of Hot Springs shows that they aren't playing around. They fully lean into the "punk" in pop-punk by adding some hardcore themes to their typical sound. The theme of the song revolves around not being enough and coming to the realization that you're living as a different person in order to gain what you're looking for.
Up next is one of the singles released in anticipation of the project, "WHYAREYOUSTILLTALKINGTOME." The song was finished in one writing session and ended up coming about because their producer wanted to have the band write something completely from scratch. Census shares with us that they went into the session with no prior plans for the song. When they were building up the song, they found the lyric "My rejection sensitivity will always get the best of me. Attachment style, anxious. If you hate me, fucking say it" that was originally written for "obsessed with you" and never used in the song. It ended up being the only part of "WHYAREYOUSTILLTALKINGTOME" that was written prior to the session, even though it wasn't planned to be used.
"WANNABE" follows as another song written in one writing session just the day before "WHYAREYOUSTILLTALKINGTOME." The track is what can only be described as a personal song, not only for the four Arkansans, but anyone who feels like they are stuck, while trying to pursue their dreams. Ben tells us that the song is the first song that he ever cried to on the EP, since it came from such a real place and specific circumstances in his own life.
Following with a classic pop-punk song in "not ur bf," which was the only song in the original lineup of songs on the EP to survive the cut before the band decided to go in a different direction with the music. The song portrays the disappointment in yourself that can arise immediately following a breakup.
Census closes out the EP with their heartbreaker "to listen, to laugh," being the second song released before the full EP release. The song perfectly encapsulates the feelings of acceptance and growth following a breakup both in the musicality and the lyrics. You can read our full review of this song here.
With the growth that Census has been experiencing as artists, they have changed their approach to the process in creating their music. In some of their earlier projects, like "Sunbeam" and "Hydrangea," the approach was to create a demo instrumentally and then add the lyrics and vocals after the fact and tell stories based on how the demo was guiding them. However, with some of their most recent work, like "Ruin My Life," the opposite approach of telling the story first through the lyrics and vocals and then creating the music to fit the words better described the story that they were trying to tell. The approach that was chosen for this EP was very intentional in terms of writing where the vocals and music went hand and hand with the songs as they were created. The creation process of the EP was, as Ben describes, vulnerable and fun. When Census was first starting out, they were writing about broad topics, like addiction, sexual assault, and depression, which Ben shares came from a place from not having much life experience to draw from, so he pulled from things that were happening in the world around him. But, with this EP, Ben shares that he came to the band with the idea of creating stories that were much more "tongue in cheek" and personal, and the other members of the band trusted him with the process.
The music truly speaks for itself in an exciting, relatable way that describes the band's journey. Ben shares with us, "I think Everything Falls Apart is the best display of artistry that this band has ever put out all around. I think it shows everything we're capable of doing, but it all feels cohesive and put together, and I love that. I hope the music finds itself. I hope that when people listen to it, they connect with it. I think my strength, as an artist and as a writer, and Census' strength, as a group in general, has always been being honest and open and vulnerable. And I think the fan base that we've been able to cultivate so far is basically just built off of people that heard the music and they could feel the passion from it, even though we're basically just a bunch of kids, and we don't know what we're doing. All we have ever wanted, the four of us in Census, is to do music for a living. We've had this dream for so long, and we want to connect with people and tour and make music for the rest of our lives. So I hope that the fans really like the music and connect with it, and build those emotional relationships and ties to the songs. But I hope that it also inspires them to keep supporting us and share the music with others, so that we can grow even further beyond what we've done so far."