The five-track EP opens with an instrumental, ‘Introduction’, which has the feel of a bit of a warm up, the first third sounding like a vehicle for all parties to fire up their instruments and gradually get the blood flowing. My initial thoughts are that this is a pretty brave mood but maybe isn’t a great first contact for a band to have with the listener and it’s just filling a gap. Things do pick up as it moves into the first proper offering, ‘Cry Hard, Cry Fast’. It’s a quirky, call and answer between singer and riff – the subdued vocal line contrasting with the energised bursts from the band grabs you and provides the first hints that there could well be something interesting here. Then the chorus does what all good choruses should do; sticks in your head – with its up-in-the-rafters staccato feel. It is a rare thing to hear a melody that seems genuinely original but when you do it makes you start to pay attention; it hints pretty strongly at the possibly that a band is trying to do something interesting and dare I say it, novel.
As if to deliberately stop you getting too excited, ‘Owe Nothing’ arrives and is altogether more conventional, but by this point I was already starting get an idea of where they might fit into the musical landscape. This third track has thicker sounds, more structure and, at times, draws on the influence of big arena acts like Coldplay (be it consciously or unconsciously). It brings the lights up on what could be a more ambitious side of these Steel City natives. With ‘Love In The Wine’ brings things back to a more unique, fragile, timid, but none the less rich style. Almost like a whispered conversation, it slips by without causing a fuss but effortlessly standing out in this small collection of songs.
‘Never Said A Word’ is the rousing finale that follows quickly behind the quiet bit. It tip-toes along, making its point with subdued instruments rippling under softly delivered lyrics the flood gates are opened and the band can stretch their legs to the beat of some bigger drums and a swathe of collective “oohing”.
On first listen, I wasn’t blown away, but it’s a difficult forum in which to judge slow-burning, more thought out music like this. It perhaps isn’t well suited to being served up in bite-sized pieces and needs (what must surely be) the imminent album to be released to really let them show what they can do. This is a pretty good taster session though; it shows that there is good song-writing ability in this band which is not necessarily being dictated by the standard style that is abundant in the guitar music world at the moment, and it has certainly made me eager to see what they can do later on down the line.