The blurb on the Risky Heroes website states; “We make music to have a dance to, lose yourself to and have a good time to” and first impressions of their EP do promise that they may have achieved their goal.
Opening track, ‘She Said’, is a punchy number that throws out a catchy, curtain-raising riff and then an equally catchy vocal line in quick succession launching the song into the world. Despite the predictable comparisons to Arctic Monkeys that these four Sheffield lads have received, things start off with a hint of The Strokes and then, as the vocals begin to clamber over each other, lean towards The Libertines.
Track number two, ‘It’s Been A While’, gives the impression that it was recorded under the influence of The Courteneers and a dash of The View (particularly the vocals) but comes across less finished than some of the other tunes on this download. It only takes until the third track to reach the standout song, ‘Hangman’.
A dramatic first few bars grab the attention and the arrangement that follows is an engaging creation that suggests the potential to go much further. It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to picture an audience bouncing up and down in time with the chorus as the band bash the tune out like their lives depend on it – a future crowd pleaser for sure. ‘David and Goliath’ brings us back towards the chirpier kind of stuff that the first two tracks provided – the thumping snare drum and upbeat guitar lines could easily make the perfect backing track to sunny, cider-fuelled dancing in any number of fields around the British countryside.
A more contemplative air lingers around ‘Modern World’, a song of musings about how it has all gone a bit wrong, and the way the music builds slowly is reminiscent of Editors. ‘Pick It Up’ bursts out of the speakers with a guitar riff that could have been lifted straight off The Strokes’ ‘Is This It?’, the staccato guitar tripping along over a smooth but stomping bass line. Again, the catchy vocal melodies lead into a catchy and, dare I say it, slightly anthemic chorus. If anything you could do with an extra minute or two of this song added to the end as it seems like it’s absolutely gagging for a bit more. The final track, ‘Cut My Strings’ feints to take it down a notch but then, mercifully, avoids the “slow ballad to close on” cliché by transforming into lively and enthusiastic finale.
With ‘She Said’, Risky Heroes have put out a debut that fulfils at least two of the band’s aims – to make music that you can dance to and have a good time to. Whether or not you can lose yourself in it remains to be seen and could depend on the experience people have at their shows. However, there is plenty of potential here and with such a high quality, free download available don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more of these guys in the near future.
Risky Heroes will be performing on July 14th 2012 at Mosborough Music Festival, Sheffield.
‘She Said’ is available as a free download at www.riskyheroes.co.uk