Listening to their lighthearted gang vocals and buoyant trumpet lines, you could certainly slap The 502s with an ambiguous indie label. Their loosely boondock, on-the-road-again acoustic tenor makes them a fit with the Americana crowd. And with their big, open strumming patterns, fingerpicked banjo, and mildly twangy vocal flair, it would be easy to call them a folk band, throw on a plaid shirt, and compare them to The Lumineers or The Avett Brothers.
Looking through a bigger lens, however – one that takes into account all aspects of their collective persona – The 502s are best described as the sound of a celebration: a wild, friendly shindig down the street that everyone wants to attend.
And the Orlando-based six-piece (Ed Isola, Jonathan Ruiz, Jake Isola, Matthew Tonner, Kaleigh LeBeau, and Tristan Smith) know that they’re ready to host. Operating within a city that sees thousands upon thousands of entertainment-hungry visitors every day has led the band to embrace their need to delight, to amuse, and to create the party for which they’re already providing the soundtrack.
The 502s’ forthcoming album Because We Had To is a lesson in finding what feels good – both in music and in life. Recorded in 36 hours over Memorial Day Weekend, it’s the kind of album you could take on a road trip, or one you might hear at a raucous New Year’s Eve Party where the lead singer smashes a pint of Guinness onstage (true story). “It’s the sound of a big rowdy party,” laughs singer/songwriter Ed Isola.