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  • Schmoolio – “Level Up”

    Schmoolio is a Pop-Rock/Pop-Punk band out of Madison, Wisconsin.  The band consists of Dan Schmuhl (vocals/guitar), Andy Schultz (bass), Mike Brace (guitar), and Dan Calrson (drums).  They released their newest album, “Level Up” a few weeks back and it is sure to be a project that gains a lot of attention.  This seven song project contains all the elements that a Pop-Rock/Pop-Punk fan loves to hear.  Schmoolio incorporates the nostalgic sounds of 90’s/2000’s Pop-Rock and blends it with their own style to create one kick-ass sound!

    Schmoolio took the time to share some of their thoughts about the direction of the band and about their take on “Level Up”.  “As a band, ‘Level Up’ resonated as well.  From the musicianship and songwriting to the actual engineering and performance, we slowed everything in the process down to get it right and make it better than our previous album ‘Can’t Hang’.  ‘Level Up’ is about taking the next step and trying to improve. The first song ‘Toast to the Host that Ghosted Me’ is about stepping outside your comfort zone, even if it takes some liquid courage, and just having fun.  Not taking life or situations too seriously.  ‘Stuck’ is about moving out of a bad roommate situation, and that roommate is a close friend, so it was hard, but it was time to move on/level up.  You see that theme throughout the album describing situations with past relationships and moving on, losing family members or having friends move away.  Even dealing with depression and acknowledging that it’s a reality that a lot of people struggle with in the song ‘Seclusion’.  The theme is, we try our best to grow and get better from all of this.  We tried to keep it light and fun, but theres a lot of seriousness to it as well.

    Schmoolio begins “Level Up” with “Toast to the Host that Ghosted Me”.  This was the best way to start off this killer album.  I am digging everything about this song.  The fast paced, heavy instrumentals create a powerful introduction to kick off the album.  The guys are given the opportunity to show off their talents and they don’t hold back!  In addition to the instrumentals, the message within the lyrics resonates with me greatly.  So many people are afraid to step out of their comfort zone and take a risk.  That “what if” thought is always in the back of one’s mind.  But one line sung by Dan Schmuhl says it all; “You can’t live life vicariously”.  Living your life through the actions of someone else is no way to live.  If you’re not willing to step out of your comfort zone and take chances, you aren’t really living.  I am a full supporter of this message!

    Level Up” continues on with “Stuck” and “Real Talk”, two songs that bring so much nostalgia my way.  “Stuck” has that classic 90’s alternative vibe to it that will certainly make it a fan favorite.  It strays away from the heavier, upbeat tempo reminiscent of 2000’s Pop-Rock and has a much softer, less edgy sound.  Despite having a sensitive topic (moving out of a bad living situation), it still has an upbeat/positive feel that is similar to songs you would hear on any 90’s summer playlist.  “Real Talk” clearly takes influence from the 2000’s Pop-Rock scene, as sounds similar to bands like Blink 182 and Yellowcard are evident.  The retro video game intro to this song is going to be what gets fans going insane in the crowd.  “Real Talk” is filled with strong, fast paced guitar chords and heavy drumming that crowds will immediately dance around to.  The second the video game intro begins, I can see pits starting to form!  

    Schmoolio powers on with “Passing On” and “12 Connections”.  These are definitely my two favorite songs on “Level Up”  “Passing On” begins with soft strumming of a guitar and leads into amazing vocals by Dan Schmuhl.  “It’s been a cold and gloomy winter, it’s been a lone and lonesome year.  When I think about you leaving, you know I wish that you were here.  Memories of you and me are running through my mind, I think about you all the time.  Wish you were here.”  From there, the guys pick up the intensity and those upbeat, heavy tempos begin.  The transition from the softer instrumentals and vocals to the heavier was flawless!  Schmoolio then continues with “12 Connections”, a two minute banger that I cannot get enough of.  This song reminds me so much of old school New Found Glory and I love it.  Schmoolio has an uncanny ability to incorporate a slower instrumental break and turn it into a powerhouse instrumental that is cause for some wild dancing!

    Level Up” ends with “Seclusion” and the album-title track, “Level Up”.  This was a great way to end the album.  “Seclusion” is the perfect example of the band that Schmoolio is.  The song includes the classic upbeat tempos, guitar chords and wild drumming that Pop-Rock fans love.  Something I was not expecting but was pleasantly surprised with was the inclusion of a song like “Level Up”.  Schmoolio takes a completely different approach from the previous six songs by going strictly acoustic on this one.  The vocals are much softer but carry so much weight.  “So I’ll set goals, this will be my year to become better, and my words will be sincere.  I’m gonna strive to be the best version of me.  Everybody raise your cup, it’s time for us the level up.”  I don’t always support a slower song as the ending to an album, but Schmoolio did it right!  The meaning behind the entire album is to take the next step and to better oneself, and this was the perfect way to culminate the album!

    Schmoolio outdid themselves with “Level Up”.  The band exceeded my expectations and put out a seven song gem.  Now we need to get these guys to come play a show on Long Island!  Make sure you follow Schmoolio on all their social media pages and check out music from their new album on the blog’s Spotify playlist: After Hours Review!