Singles Round Up September

Decade Callous
I quite like this. A good riff with a bit more going on underneath it than your average melodic pop punk song. It's very well produced and it's perfect scene music, very cool and hip for those in the know. My only beef with it is that it's got no edge to it, it's all a bit safe and constrained. More oomph required but it has commercial appeal and those pesky kids are gonna love it!

Cleavers/Kimberly Steaks
Cleavers kick off this split 7" with their brand of 80s sounding street punk. Very simple in structure it has a distinct old skool punk feel about it, a bit like Oi Polloi crossed with The Bronx. This is their 4th 7" single and to celebrate its release they've er...gone on indefinite hiatus! Not bad but it doesn't really go anywhere and both tracks lack a killer riff.

More enjoyable is The Kimberly Steaks who play upbeat melodic punk. Think part Descendents, part Toy Dolls, part early Dickies and you get the idea. Nothing too deep going on but sometimes that's just what you want. Rather refreshing.

Surrender The Coast Conscience
Ahh now this is more like it, a good dose of hardcore never goes amiss and that's just what Surrender The Coast deliver. Big fat guitars, double bass drums and screamo vocals and even a hint of a chorus! They score 2/10 for originality but a healthy 8/10 for mosh pit value. Hard and raucous, it's like getting punched in the face for 3 minutes! Good stuff.

Inherit The Stars Ground Zero
This is really good, if not a little confusing! Billed as an alt/metalcore band they veer from crushing hardcore to almost symphonic and melodic metal at the drop of a hat. This feels like several songs of differing styles all mashed into one and as such you find yourself struggling to buy into it and yet liking it at the same time. Every section is very well done and they certainly have 'something', it's like a cocktail of ingredients that shouldn't work as well as they do. Interesting, and there's a lot to be said for that.

The Balconies The Slo
Canadian rockers with a pretty rubbish name and I really didn't like this on first listen but I must confess that it grows on you very quickly. What they do very well is blend dynamics from hard to soft, light to shade; the riffs are big enough to appeal to the rocker in you and the vocal melody is ethereal and quirky enough to have the same kind of appeal as Kate Bush. It sounds nothing like Kate Bush of course but she has that mystical quality that makes you like her material without quite knowing why and The Balconies are much the same. There's something there that draws you in. Resistance is futile.

Crooked Tongues Headrush EP
Leeds based indie/psyche that reminds me a bit of The Cooper Temple Clause (which is no bad thing) with a dose of Kula Shaker. There's quite a lot going on, with some interesting dynamics and mood changes and it's catchy enough to draw you in. The guitars are suitably big and the vocals have that earthy gravel tone that just works. A little dated perhaps at times but also pretty cool and engaging. Keep your eye on these guys, I get the feeling they are on the way to bigger things.

Fathoms Cold Youth EP
Fathoms do melodic hardcore and you have to say that they do it very well but they don't really have anything that really sets them apart from everyone else that's doing it. That said, this is good stuff that kicks you in the balls and drags you round the room by the hair! It's hard and heavy with enough melody to stop it form being for hardcore purists only. That occasional break into a straight up melody makes all the difference and overall it's exceedingly tight. Solid.

Early Seasons Welcome to Salem
This started off quite promisingly with a fast paced and hard hitting riff but it dropped into generic hardcore pretty quickly. It has a really good female vocal line over the top but when it comes to guest vocalist Dylan Richter's parts they sound like any number of other bands. I'm a bit torn with this one, it has the potential to be something quite special and I know there will be fans of Richter's out there but it feels like he holds it back rather than adding to it. I bet Early Seasons are pretty kick ass live and there's big potential here.

We Never Learned to Live S/T EP
Musically I really like this, WNLTL create pretty epic soundscapes and aren't afraid to take their time over it, which makes for some really interesting progressions. What lets it down is the generic hardcore vocals over the top. It really detracts from the music and prevents it from becoming a truly glorious listen. The music is big enough to stand up on it's own and if the vocals aren't adding to it then they'd be better left out. They have a real understanding of how to work dynamics, not dissimilar to 65 Days Of Static or Pelican in that respect. Well worth checking out.