Patent Pending's sound is not original. They could easily be dropped into the slot of the latest in a long line of pop-punk boy bands - this year's blink-182 or Fall Out Boy on stage at the Warped Tour.
That being said, they are extremely popular. They are MySpace sweethearts, and while Save Each Other, The Whales Are Doing Fine isn't even out until June 6, its preorders have held the #1 Sales Rank on Interpunk for three weeks running.
It Doesn't Need to Be Original To Be Good
The reason is simple. What Patent Pending lacks in originality, they make up for in fun. Their songs are largely fun, dance-friendly pop punk; crunchy guitar riffs with passionate vocals and a positive attitude. When it's done well, it's a recipe for good music, and these guys do it very well.
And they're not exclusively limited to basic three-chord pop punk, either. They mix up the sound a bit with a bit of Doo-wop ("The Safety of Sleeping In") and some Social Distortion-influenced guitars ("Sleep Well My Angel" is a shining example of this, and one of the better songs on the album). "Demo For Dana" is another high point, a sweeping melodic song that conjures instrumental references to Jane's Addiction.
"Samantha The Great" is another peak for the album - a rocking near-ballad with bittersweet lyrics. Both its style and lyrics ("Monday she left for New York City/By Friday she'd been found torn apart") definitely make it Save Each Other's darkest song, and it also showcases the band's musical talents, which get taken for granted in three-chord punk songs.
The lyrics on the remainder of the album are pretty consistent; predominantly a series of love songs both happy and sad, the type of song that melodramatic teenagers love. The band does have a sense of humor, though. They poke a bit of fun at the same kids who could be getting into them with their song "Cheer Up Emo Kid" ("And I like to listen to my favorite band The Cure/I'd ask her out but she'd say no, no for sure").
Patent Pending also gain massive credibility for their DIY ethics. Prior to their arrival at We Put Out Records, the band has already self-released two albums and two DVDs. They may be pop punk, but they are still punk.
These guys are what I like to think of as a "gateway band", paving the way for the harder stuff. There is a definite place for it; it's fun to bob your head to, fun to sing along with, and it leaves you warm inside. It's not for everyone, but if you're looking to cleanse your palate with a little bubblegum at the end of the day, Save Each Other, The Whales Are Doing Fine is the album for you.