Student band Photo Negative has made many appearances both on and off Boston College’s campus since the group’s inception in 2018. The band’s second EP, Punting the Sweet Fantastic, is set to come out on streaming platforms on Friday.
The group’s indie-rock sound comes through in the electric guitar’s sultry melodies and the entrancing drum patterns. Vocalists Matthew Hogan, CSOM ’22, and Benjamin Crandall, CSOM ’23, paint pictures with the EP’s bright and playful lyrics. The band also includes bassist Nicholas Straub, MCAS ’23, saxophonist Stephen Ventura, CSOM ’22, and drummer Éamon Laughlin, MCAS ’22.
The band members started producing Punting the Sweet Fantastic at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. They pulled together songs that they occasionally play at shows but had never released on streaming platforms. The EP features three songs: “Good Reason,” “Punting the Sweet Fantastic,” and “Quicksilver.”
Hogan said that he wrote “Quicksilver” two years ago, and, after the band workshopped the piece together, the band played it at its first show, hosted by the BC Music Guild. “Quicksilver” showcases Ventura’s saxophone skills throughout the track, commanding attention between verses. The lyrics contemplate how time can feel like it’s moving too quickly and life’s inherent unpredictability.
“I wanna run until I’m almost out of time / [Time] is erased / I’m feeling debased,” Hogan sings.
Photo Negative said that its new EP’s lyrics do not follow any theme or singular meaning. Instead, the lyrics reflect on how the members were feeling when they wrote the songs.
“I don’t know if it was conscious or subconscious, … but I get the sense of clinging to good moments—life kind of flying by,” Straub said.
Hogan, Laughlin, and Straub agreed that the title track, “Punting the Sweet Fantastic,” is their favorite song from the EP. Its energetic and carefree tune makes it the most fun to play live at gigs, according to Hogan. Photo Negative played the track “Punting the Sweet Fantastic” in December at Paradise Rock Club when the band opened for rock band Juice.
“I don’t wanna be another domino / If we’re gonna fall / But I’ll punt the sweet fantastic / If that’s what it takes / To truly break away,” Crandall sings.
A key moment in the creation of the Punting the Sweet Fantastic EP was recording “Good Reason” within the span of one day, according to Hogan. The band only needed a couple of takes to record the drums and Crandall’s vocals, Hogan said. For previous projects, Laughlin recorded the drum part separately from the vocals and guitar. But this time, Laughlin decided to record with two other members playing guitar alongside him. Laughlin said that the results of this recording session shine through in the upbeat energy and rhythms that he plays on “Good Reason.”
Photo Negative completed its EP in mid-March, just after coming back from Spring Break. In April, the band competed in BC’s Battle of the Bands, making it to the final round with two other student bands. The final round, known as the BC’s Best competition, will take place during Arts Fest, from April 28 to 30.
The band’s plans for the future remain unclear. Three of the five band members will graduate this spring, but the band members are optimistic about staying together.
“Especially given how far we’ve come in just the last four or five months, we all kind of agreed we want to try and keep it going while we can,” Hogan said. “Because I think we got something really cool going here. So if it makes sense, then why not?”