Good Old Days isn’t just the title of No Tagbacks’ debut EP. It’s also a thesis statement. The seeds of the project have been germinating since 2018, and now the Chicago-based duo of vocalist/guitarist Evan Douglas Peters and bassist Christian George are ready to let the whole thing loose. The cover art gives good insight into the band’s sound: nostalgic pop-punk fit for the era of Fuse and VH1.  

On singles “mov” and “Good Old Days” they almost sound like Green Day or blink-182, and on “Come Out and Play” they tap into the latter’s sense of humor with lines like “Judge Judy, give me cooties / Sentence tastes so fruity-smoothie.” That’s one of the most refreshing things about Good Old Days, that No Tagbacks never take themselves too seriously; “Misanthropic Old Man” is a witty, self-aware take on a song about being jealous of friends, and even the band’s ballad “If I Never Left You in Illinois” never dips into overly saccharine territory. It’s sincere and it’s warm, but it’s never cloying. Of particular note is the penultimate “Never Gonna Die,” the title of which might well be a reference to its energetic sound: No Tagbacks dips their toes into straight-up ska-punk, complete with trumpet and two trombones and a helping of “pick it up!”s. It’s the sort of track where you can hear how much fun the band had in the studio.

The band’s been dropping singles since ‘21–including three music videos that year for “Good Old Days,” “No Sheep,” and “mov”–and played shows all throughout the Midwest. 2023 saw the release of debut EP Good Old Days, and summer 2024 looks like their biggest year yet. No Tagbacks might deal a lot in nostalgia, but now they’re looking toward the future–and it’s bright.

–Zac Djamoos, (editor, The Alternative)