Tag Archives: dog knights productions

Review: Simmer’s Paper Prisms

simmer-paper-prisms-packshot

Glittery emo quintet Simmer have returned with their debut album entitled Paper Prisms. Simmer previously impressed us with their 2015 EP Yellow Streak; a beautiful and delicate yet sharp and biting rock record that showcased an extremely accomplished sound for such a young band. Personal anticipation was high for this record, so do Simmer deliver the goods when they move onto their first long-player?

Sort of. This is clearly the same band that wowed us last year, but there’s something about Paper Prisms that feels like a band trying to spread their ideas too thin. The setup is identical to Yellow Streak; we get beautiful, sweeping guitar melodies complimented with sombre, lilting vocals and it’s all accompanied with a punchy performance on the drums. The one/two opener of Faze and Control is a perfect beginning to the record and it showcases all these elements beautifully.

However, what becomes apparent very early on is just how much time is spent on overindulgent moments of guitar feedback. Every song seems to start with a big wailing burst of feedback and in the case of some songs like Antwerp, they even linger to a limp conclusion using even more feedback. Simmer are clearly trying to create atmosphere on Paper Prisms and the guitar feedback is never abrasive or obnoxious in anyway, it just feels like it takes away from the immediacy of the song-writing. Songs like Calendar don’t kick in until half the track’s run time has gone by and it’s a bit annoying that so much time is spent holding a guitar to an amp.

It’s also a shame that the vocals often get lost in the mix. The vocals on Paper Prisms are often treated more like an instrument and they’ve been hidden away in the composition to the point that you can’t really make out what’s being said. It’s not the biggest problem because thankfully the gorgeous melodies are still audible; it just would have been nicer to have heard the vocals front and centre.

Simmer’s Paper Prisms is by no means a bad record by any stretch of the imagination. This is still a wonderfully light and dreamy emo record and as a debut album it certainly sets the band up with a great foundation to build on. Sadly it’s let down by a lot unnecessarily drawn-out moments of guitar feedback that have a tendency to kill the pacing. It Simmer can tighten up their song-writing and think of ways to meld the extra texture into the songs themselves, then their next release should be something really special.

7/10

Simmer’s Paper Prisms is out now and available to buy from Dog Knights Productions.


Review: Simmer’s Yellow Streak

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Simmer make a wonderful, clattery, emo racket in the vein of early Smashing Pumpkins and Feeder. Their 2nd EP Yellow Streak has a youthful bolt of energy running through it and it’s loaded with glittery melodies that are filtered through some lovely, crunchy distortion.

For an EP this wild and noisy, Simmer have a rather unnerving knack for making their music very approachable. This is helped with the dream-like, drawl of the vocal melodies which are easy on the ears. Some might say they’re a bit pedestrian and inoffensive but I feel like their understated nature allows the listener to focus more heavily on the instrumentation.

Simmer’s instrumentation and song-writing is the real highlight of Yellow Streak. The riffs have some additional reverberation which creates these fantastic images of massive, open plains and beautiful landscapes. There’s a summery and somewhat reflective vibe to the band’s music and it brings forth some wonderfully nostalgic feelings. It’s not often that a band’s music affects me in such a way but listening to Yellow Streak (especially the opening 3 tracks of Douse, Head Trip and Laying Odds) put me in such a positive mind-set.

When the EP comes to a close with its title track, the band’s music changes stylistically for the first time on the record; there’s a very sombre atmosphere on show. Simmer have structured this EP in such a masterful way that when it reaches its final moments it actually feels like the band are saying goodbye.

Simmer’s Yellow Streak is a rare gem of a record. The EP is full of soaring melodies and satisfying riffs that are punctuated with a beautifully reflective vocal performance. Even though this is only the band’s second EP, it feels like they’ve already mastered their craft and Yellow Streak might be a defining moment in their career.

9/10

Simmer’s Yellow Streak is out now through Dog Knights Productions. You can buy it on either translucent green or yellow 7″ by clicking here.


Review: Let it Die, Pariso, Svalbard & MINE – Cover Buzz

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‘Cover Buzz’ is a rather exciting four-way split between UK hardcore upstarts Let it Die, Pariso, Svalbard and MINE. The seven-inch jukebox single has no less than five record labels behind it and the quality of the product is a true testament to the communal vibe of UK heavy music. It’s also going to be a release that sees a load of hardcore kids rush to eBay to purchase 45RPM turntable adaptors as in true jukebox fashion, the record’s middle has been punched out.

Without further ado, let’s discuss each band’s contribution to this unique little release:

LET IT DIE – WAR IN THE HEAD

Let it Die deal with their cover of 7 Seconds’ ‘War in the Head’ in the only way they can; play the thing at breakneck speed and crank the power violence up to its absolute extreme. We’ve said this before on the website but Let it Die manage to sound angrier and angrier on each release and these forty seconds of unbridled rage showcase the band at their absolute best. What an opening.

9/10

PARISO – STRAIGHT HYPOCRISY/IMAGES

Pariso also take a similar approach in making their two covers sound as much like themselves as they could. They also took that typical Pariso approach and one-upped everyone else on the release by doing two covers instead of one (see the band’s split with Kerouac to see them put forward five songs in two and a half minutes while Kerouac can only muster one). The band tackle songs from Witch Cult and Weekend Nachos and fuel them with that brilliantly mathy edge that Pariso do so well but also manage to add plenty of Hatebreed-esque stomp as is typical of the band. Pariso are in the wonderful position of being a band that sound completely unique which is a pretty difficult thing to do in a scene as dense as UK hardcore.

9/10

SVALBARD – THIS IS THE END

Svalbard put forward a cover of Victims’ ‘This is the End’ and instead of moulding the song into something that would sit comfortably in Svalbard’s own back catalogue, they take the approach of playing the track in a similar vein to the original. This obviously means Svalbard’s cover lacks the impact of a re-imagining like the two songs that preceded it, but it is fascinating to hear the post-metallers play straight forward hardcore without the bells and whistles they add to their own sound.

8/10

MINE – EVERYBODY HATES ME

MINE also take the Svalbard approach by playing their cover of Tear it Up’s ‘Everybody Hates Me’ as close to the original as possible, but once again it’s interesting to hear the band play no frills punk instead of their own blend of post rock and hardcore. MINE’s cover sounds endearingly lo-fi in comparison to the rest of the songs on ‘Cover Buzz’ and it adds an air of authenticity to the song that suits its inclusion on a jukebox single perfectly.

8/10

‘Cover Buzz’ is a wonderfully ambitious and overblown release. Fans of hardcore punk will find a lot to love as four of the UK’s brightest hopes play classic hardcore with all the piss and vinegar you’d expect from one of their own releases. It’s also brilliant to see five record labels stump up a bit of support for such an elaborate release. Records like this manage to showcase some of the most interesting ideas in UK heavy music and it’s a release we can’t recommend enough.

‘Cover Buzz’ featuring Let it Die, Pariso, Svalbard and MINE is available to buy now from Dog Knights Productions, Enjoyment Records, Moshtache Records, Tangled Talk Records and Cult Culture.