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Album Review: Semiotics - For How
by Kyle O'Connor

New Brunswick natives Semiotics have been the hidden gem of alternative emo rock, with a slight early 2000’s pop punk vibe (think Motion City Soundtrack). With jumpy melodies and relatable lyrics, Semiotics surely is a band worth checking out if you’re looking for a fresh, reviving sound. 

Nicholas Rapon, co-singer and co-guitarist of the band, has been booking shows since he was in high school, and not necessarily just in New Brunswick. Originally only playing in his house, Semiotics have since played various DIY venues and spaces throughout the state, as well as out of state shows and a two-week tour that extended to Brunswick, Georgia. The band describes the date as “a New Brunswick show hosted in a different Brunswick” where they performed with other NB frequent acts Hodera and Toy Cars. The band’s dedication truly shines with the release of For How, where they worked relentlessly with producer Brett Romnes (I Am the Avalanche). 

Songs off of For How often revolve around themes of heartbreak, falling in love, and even a track that is essentially an anthem to the individuals of the local music scene that are not properly acting in a neighborly fashion, appropriately named “DIY DEATH MACHINE.” Songs share similar structure, in which the band keeps a consistent jumpy and upbeat rhythm with very strong vocal melodies to accompany. Part of what makes Semiotics an interesting listen relates to two vocalists who share equal parts in songs. Semiotics have had to form new lineups because of members leaving, but the duo of Rapon and co-vocalist Seth Blissenbach have consistently been the backbone to the band. 

Extremely fun and refreshing, For How is like a pop punk record mixed with a bit of alternative emo rock. Overall, it’s a record whose sound is unique and certainly not anything that one would typically hear in New Brunswick’s largely indie pop influenced music community.