Tag Archives: pop punk

Review: Oh Captive’s Two Mirrors

Oh Captive - Cover Artwork

Oh Captive make the sort of chart-bothering, pop punk/emo combo that has been so popular with bands like Youmeatsix, Young Guns and Kids in Glass Houses and that’s fine if you like that sort of thing but the band are doing so little to prove their worth in this scene that their Two Mirrors EP could have been made by anyone.

The most irritating thing about this EP is that Oh Captive have managed to write a series of songs that don’t spark any emotion. The vocals are delivered in that tepid mid-range that so many young bands favour and it’s completely lacking in dynamics. The guitars feel like they’ve been belt-sanded smooth and they are completely devoid of any bite. Because of this I couldn’t pin-point a single riff I liked because they all drifted by like a ghost farting.

What really annoys me is that there’s clearly a competent band playing this music. The songs are well written, the choruses aren’t offensive to listen to and occasionally it sounds like they actually care about their music. The opening riff of the EP’s title track is a real stomper and I can envisage a crowd of kids losing their minds when it kicks off.

Unfortunately it isn’t too long until you’re reminded what’s wrong with this band; it’s all too safe. The vocals are capable at best but they won’t spark any meaningful connection between the listener and the band. The same goes for the music. This is heavy guitar music with none of the heavy and it’s bewildering to me that I didn’t have the urge to nod my head along to a single track. That’s a serious failing for any band making rock music.

How do you get excited about a band that are painfully mediocre? There is simply nothing original about Oh Captive and Two Mirrors drifts by without a single memorable moment. There’s nothing wrong with the music and it’s quite competently put together but there isn’t a riff or melody that hasn’t been ripped from another band. Two Mirrors is an EP so bland that getting angry about it would be a waste of time.

4/10

Oh Captive’s Two Mirrors is out now through all major digital outlets.

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Gone But Not Forgotten: Project Abner/The Abner

Let me tell you a tale of four very talented chaps who got dealt a bad hand. Dave, Olv, Apple and Wilson are the four members of Project Abner; an emo/pop punk/metalcore hybrid act who were functional from 2001 to 2004. The band toured and played lots of shows with bands like Days Ago, Zero Cipher, Eden Maine and Aconite Thrill. In 2002 to 2003 they wrote, recorded and released an EP called All My Love.

Now here’s where things get strange; the All My Love EP made it to press and some reviews also refer to it as the Follow the Pig EP. It would appear the EP was scheduled for a physical release in October 2003 but for whatever reason I haven’t been able to find anything as to the existence of physical CDs. This EP would have contained the songs As Kids Do, The Fable, Pour Fair L’Amour, Suited and Useless, Sighing Like Furnace and All My Love. Sighing Like Furnace and The Fable got released on a promotional CD-R that was given out at gigs.

project_abner_ep aml-inlay-front-cover1064231483

Here’s where things take a turn for the worst. Project Abner’s management got them into a position where they were being blacklisted by promoters and booking agents. It’s not clear what had happened but the band were furious with their manager and decided to dump him and their name in the process.

In 2004 Project Abner are reborn as The Abner. With renewed energy and focus the band record an EP called Chinoiserie Lounge for Basick Records and it’s sprung on the world in 2006. The EP is a wonderful mesh of Horse the Band and early Enter Shikari and the band christen their special blend of noise as partycore. Sighing Like Furnace is also revisited and given a fresh coat of paint and renamed The Penitent Man Will Pass. Copies of this EP are still available from Basick Records and every household should have one.

The band continue to trudge on but it becomes apparent that the band’s live appearances are becoming more infrequent and it isn’t until 2008 that new material surfaces. The Abner release a new single called D.I.S.C.O and it’s a frightfully catchy slice of up-beat punk-metal. I remember seeing the song live for the first time at a Basick Records showcase gig which included Without Thought and Fell Silent and it was an absolute joy to behold.

Work began on what would become The Abner’s debut album but interest in the band seemed to have completely faded. The Abner were appearing at incredibly under-promoted shows and one show at The Hope and Anchor only drew about 5 people (myself included). This sort of reception is heartbreaking when it happens to a band you care about and by 2009 The Abner decided it simply wasn’t worth the effort.

The band split without a farewell show but they gave their fans one final gift in the form of 5 album demos and the previously released D.I.S.C.O single. This final release is even more tragic in the fact that it shows a noticeable progression in the band’s song-writing. The songs are all wonderfully unique and progressive numbers like A Cowshed Riot Against the Glutton sit side-by-side with straight-forward rockers like Whiskey Punchout. The songs were initially shared by the band via mediafire but thankfully Basick Records have seen fit to give the songs another lease of life and re-released them as an iTunes EP called If You’re Listening To This… Where Were You In 2008?

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Did The Abner’s management kill the band’s chance at success? It’s difficult to say but in 2009 the UK lost one of the most original sounding rock acts to ever grace the toilet circuit. It’s not nice watching a band you love fall into obscurity and making heavy music in this day and age is a real labour of love. The Abner stuck with it for 8 years and they don’t deserve to be a footnote in UK rock’s history. Go and hunt down The Abner’s 2 EPs on iTunes and indulge in one of the weirdest rock bands ever birthed in the UK. You won’t regret it.

Andrew has kindly put together some additional information on the band which we present below:

“Our very last attempt at a show was in 2009 at the Water Rats where we turned up on a Thursday night to play and were told by the venue that they thought we would bring a crowd. We told them that they were sorely mistaken (haha), so they told us we wouldn’t be playing. We packed up our gear and that was that!

All My Love was a massive blow for us. We had been promised the earth by a con man and left out to dry with his dirty laundry. Basically we got an initial run of one hundred CDs and the printing was wrong on them. They never got a re-pressing because the label head hadn’t paid the bill. Almost cursed, you might say. One of the main reasons that Evolving Music (the label) collapsed is that they over stretched themselves time and time again. Properties in central London, full page adverts in Kerrang! and Rock Sound, t-shirts, stickers, you name it. All good stuff if the money is coming in. They booked a huge 30 date tour for the 3 bands potentially signing to Evolving (ourselves, Through Silence, and Shellshock) with 2 revolving headliners. Half the dates were scheduled for Skindred, and half for Mahumodo (with Mahumodo being the headliners for our shows, drawing a more suitable crowd for us). 3 days before the first show Mahumodo split up and the tour was a disaster as a result! Then we were lied to, etc etc. and the rest is history!

Basick Records saved us from the brink and we helped them by signing a free deal. They pressed our CDs and we bought them at cost. Any that Basick sold were their own. It worked for us and Nathan always had faith in us and our music. It was just a shame that the small piece of momentum we had left when we signed with them ran out before we managed to write a whole album.

Another note worth mentioning is that we toured with My Chemical Romance on their first 3 date UK tour (just before being blacklisted) and also with Skindred around the time that our label collapsed.

We got to the point where we had more fun being ourselves and we never ever fit into a pigeon hole from a visual perspective. We just enjoyed rocking out (and slagging off the crowd between songs).

I’d have loved it if we could have carried on but sometimes life just gets in the way. It’s really nice to know that there’s a little legacy out there though!”

PROJECT ABNER/THE ABNER WERE
– Dave Shanley (vocals)
– Andrew Wilson (bass)
– Apple (guitar)
– Olv (drums)

DISCOGRAPHY

As Project Abner
2 Track Promo CD-R (2003)
Subverse Volume 1 Compilation (2003)
All My Love/Follow the Pig EP (2003)

As The Abner
2 Track Demo CD-R (2004)
Chinoiserie Lounge EP (2006)
A Day for Light Refreshment Promo DVD (2007)
D.I.S.C.O Single (2008)
If You’re Listening To This… Where Were You In 2008? EP (2009)

Do you have memories of Project Abner/The Abner? Let us know in the comments below or drop us an email at ukscumscene[at]live.co.uk.


Review: Gnarwolves’ Gnarwolves

gnarwolves

The Gnarwolves album has finally landed. It seems like this album has been a long time coming and Gnarwolves have been mastering their craft after 3 very successful EPs, but have the boys from Brighton managed to make a full length that does their rowdy pop punk justice? The short answer is, “yes”.

The long answer is that even after 3 EPs, Gnarwolves are still churning out skate punk anthem after skate punk anthem. Every track on Gnarwolves’ self-titled debut album is a real fist pumping sing-a-long which is unnaturally impressive. No band should be able to consistently make such catchy punk for so long but Gnarwolves are making it look easy.

What makes Gnarwolves so effective is their ability to write a chorus that will stick with you for weeks. The best tracks on the album have the most memorable choruses and songs like Boneyard, Bottle to Bottle and Smoking Kills are easily going to become live favourites.

Speaking of live, special mention has to be given to the production which captures Gnarwolves energy in a similar way to a great live recording. The one element that seems to make this work so well is the vocals which are shared between all 3 of the band members and makes for a beautiful collision of raw, grunted vocals and the sort of crooning you’d expect from Rise Against and Green Day.

The only negative you might level against Gnarwolves is they’re basically writing the same songs they’ve always written, but is that really a negative? When the music is this memorable and passionate I’d argue, “no” but even if you’d written off Gnarwolves’ creativity something shows up right at the end of the album that truly surprises.

There’s a bloody hardcore song at the end of this album. The untitled song in question is full of aggression, riffs and beatdowns and Gnarwolves pull it off just as well as any of hardcore’s finest. If there were any worries of where Gnarwolves could go after this record then I’d happily put money on them getting heavier because hardcore elements really suit their abrasive punk sound.

Gnarwolves have successfully delivered the album they were always threatening to make. This is a wonderful 28 minutes of direct yet anthemic punk that showcases a band at the top of their game. Gnarwolves are one of the most exciting bands in UK punk right now and this is an essential purchase for anyone who likes their music catchy yet lairy.

8/10

Gnarwolves’ self-titled debut album is out now through Tangled Talk Records and Big Scary Monsters.


Review: Nathan Detroit’s Peace of Mind

nathandetroit

Whilst listening to Nathan Detroit’s Peace of Mind EP I wondered if people are happy with digesting pop punk band after pop punk band who are happy to just regurgitate each other’s material. How many You Me at Sixs, Kids in Glass Houses’, Paramores and Lower than Atlantis’ do we really need and what’s defining them outside of having different sounding vocalists? I can’t help but think that pop punk has plateaued and bringing something new to the genre is near impossible at this point.

So, Nathan Detroit then; they’re a pop punk band. They sound like the aforementioned bands. You’ve got radio friendly, pop song structures, sugary vocals and upbeat melodies. There’s no aggression on show here; Nathan Detroit want you to stick your arm round a friend and pogo your floppy fringes off and for the most part it’s difficult to criticise a band that sound like such a lovely bunch of happy lads. Your Mum would certainly approve of their poster on your wall.

Now let’s talk music; Peace of Mind kicks into action with The Way Down which is a glittery, jangly anthem with big, soaring choruses that see the shiny guitar tones opt for a bit of overdrive to give things a satisfying punch. Some songs tend to favour the overdrive pedal a little more than others like the explosive Never Enough which bursts out the gates and keeps up the pace for the entirety of the song. It’s all very well written and absolutely crammed with earworm choruses that will help the band appeal to a huge audience.

So why does the whole EP leave a massive emptiness in my ears? Nathan Detroit’s music is so devoid of creativity that it simply becomes an occurrence instead of an event. The pop punk formula is so established now that Nathan Detroit could simply change their name to Me Vs Hero and nobody would notice. There is nothing identifying about the band’s music and it’s a bit sad listening to a band that offer nothing unique.

The real shame is that there is nothing particularly wrong with the band’s music. The choruses are memorable, the riffs are decent, the song writing is great and it’s incredibly well produced, but listening to it is like being shown two different shades of Dulux white paint and being asked if you can see a difference. But who am I to complain? A legion of kids will happily lap this up and hail them the new kings of pop punk simply because they adhere to the standard and pull it off well.

Nathan Detroit are a pop punk band. If these words are enough to interest you then you’ll probably like them. Peace of Mind is a solid, well written EP that will satisfy fans of the genre, but its biggest problem is exactly that. Are you happy to welcome another pop punk clone into your life or do you want something that offers some originality? I am firmly in the latter camp and this EP has done nothing to convince me that Nathan Detroit have anything unique that’s worth my time.

5/10

Nathan Detroit’s Peace of Mind EP is out now and available to buy from Saint November Records.


Review: Miss Vincent’s Creepy

MissVincentCreepyCover

Miss Vincent are a pop punk act from Guildford who arrive with their debut EP ‘Creepy’. The EP showcases the band’s appreciation of bands like Paramore and Alkaline Trio with its approachable style that puts melody and hooks at the forefront.

The band definitely have a knack for writing a catchy hook. There isn’t a song on ‘Creepy’ that won’t wriggle its way into your psyche causing you to whistle it all day. ‘Planning to Fail’ features the EP’s biggest chorus and is definitely going to be a song the band’s fan-base latch onto. Miss Vincent are also no introvert when it comes to ‘whoas’ and the entire band often burst into song for some backing ‘whoas’. Yes, they’re a clichéd inclusion but they certainly make the whole experience a bloody enjoyable one.

Miss Vincent do have problems though. The vocals sit in the mid-range for the whole EP and while they’re perfectly serviceable that’s all there is to it. This doesn’t sound like a band who truly believe in what they’re singing unlike the aforementioned Alkaline Trio and Paramore who definitely sing it like they mean it. If the band could work on their delivery and add some heart to their melodies then they’d shine even brighter. The vocal delivery also makes some of the melodies fall a little flat which is a damn shame as the band clearly have great song writing talent. It’s just a bit disappointing to hear such well written melodies sound so ‘meh’.

The other problem the band suffer is what they’re doing has been done before and done better. Miss Vincent are another pop punk band in an already overpopulated genre and they’re not doing enough to stand out. In all fairness their music is definitely more memorable than the usual ten-a-penny pop punk act and they even manage to break out a cracking solo in EP closer ‘Testing Times’. Miss Vincent could definitely stand out thanks to the quality of their song writing but once again it comes back to their vocal delivery. I need to believe in the band and right now I’m not so sure.

Miss Vincent’s ‘Creepy’ is an EP loaded with great hooks and its wonderfully consistent throughout all of its five tracks. The band are definitely on their way to being one of the UK’s premier pop punk bands but they need to work on delivering their lyrics with passion before a larger fan-base can truly get behind them.

6/10

Miss Vincent’s Creepy is available now and can be obtained via pay-what-you-want means at the band’s Band Camp page.


News: New Gnarwolves Song Available to Stream

Brighton punkers Gnarwolves have released the first taster of their new EP in the form of the song Limerence. You can stream the new track below:

Gnarwolves are currently touring the UK with The Story So Far and American Scene. Full dates below:

MAY
08 – ABERDEEN Tunnels
09 – GLASGOW King Tuts
10 – NEWCASTLE Trillians
11 – NOTTINGHAM Basement
12 – NORWICH Waterfront Studio
13 – SOUTHAMPTON Joiners
14 – KINGSTON Peel

Gnarwolves as-yet-to-be-titled EP will be released through Tangled Talk Records this Summer.


News: Gnarwolves Announce New EP and Play Gigs Everywhere

Pop-punkers Gnarwolves will return with a new EP in May. The release will be jointly put out by Tangled Talk Records and Big Scary Monsters and will once again be produced by Lewis Johns.

The EP is currently untitled and a tracklist is non-existent. Regardless, we’re very excited to hear more music from the lads who brought us this beast:

Gnarwolves are also touring extensively this year. Check out this enormous list of shows. You have no excuse not to see the band now:

08.03 – DE, Stuttgart, 1210 *
09.03 – AU, Obdach, VAZ *
10.03 – AU, Salzburg, Rock House *
11.03 – AU, Wien, Arena *
13.03 – DE, Munster, Lorenz Sud *
14.03 – CH, Zurich, Dynamo 21 *
15.03 – IT, Rome, Closer Club *
16.03 – IT, Milan, Live Forum *
17.03 – DE, Saarbrucken, Kleiner Club Garage *
18.03 – DE, Hannover, Bei Chez Heinz *
19.03 – DE, Hamburg, Hafenklang *
20.03 – DE, Berlin, Cassiopeia *
21.03 – DE, Dusseldorf, Tube *
22.03 – BE, Antwerp, TBC *
23.03 – UK, London, Underworld *
24.03 – UK, Margate, West Coast Bar *
25.03 – UK, Stoke on Trent, Minsters Bar *
26.03 – UK, Manchester, Star and Garter *
27.03 – UK, Bristol, The Croft *
28.03 – UK, Kingston, Fighting Cocks *
29.03 – UK, Southampton, Unit Club *
30.03 – UK, Liverpool, Radstock *
30.03 – UK, London, The Garage (w/ Dead Swans – sold out)
05.04 – UK, London, Facedown @ The Scala
19.04 – UK, Manchester, Facedown @ NQ Live
20.04 – UK, Bristol, Hit the Deck Festival
21.04 – UK, Nottingham, Hit the Deck Festival
27.04 – DE, Stuttgart, Pirate Satellite Festival (w/ Bad Religion, Propagandhi, Comeback Kid)
30.04 – UK, London, Old Blue Last #
01.05 – UK, Bristol, The Croft #
02.05 – UK, Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach #
03.05 – UK, Plymouth, White Rabbit #
04.05 – UK, Birmingham, Asylum #
05.05 – UK, Sheffield, Corporation #
06.05 – UK, Liverpool, Shipping Forecast #
07.05 – UK, Manchester, NQ Live #
08.05 – UK, Aberdeen, Tunnels #
09.05 – UK, Glasgow, King Tuts #
10.05 – UK, Newcastle, Trillians #
11.05 – UK, Nottingham, Basement #
12.05 – UK, Norwich, Waterfront Studio #
13.05 – UK, Southampton, Joiners #
14.05 – UK, Kingston, The Peel #
* – w/ Broadway Calls

# – w/ The Story So Far

[Source: Pink Mist]


Review: Eager Teeth’s Eager Teeth

Brighton post hardcore mob Eager Teeth are made up of members of Chaos Days, This City and Telegraphs and elements of the latter two bands really shine through in their overall sound. The band present us with their debut self-titled album which is jam-packed with massive riffs, huge pop-punk melodies and some interesting little splashes of alternative guitar twiddling which make for a brilliantly original sound. Fans of Lower Than Atlantis and The James Cleaver Quintet will find plenty to like here.

If you take anything away from this review then make sure it’s “this album is bloody catchy”. Every song on Eager Teeth’s self-titled debut is loaded with a massive chorus that is so infectious you’ll need to visit a doctor to remove it. Vocalist Will Blood swaggers his way through the entire record with his wonderful croon that makes every melody super-memorable. Eager Teeth have certainly developed a spectacular formula for making their songs sound incredibly lasting.

What really impresses is that the actual music driving the whole thing is a huge melting pot of riffs, furious drums and gentler moments that weave in beautifully with the previous elements. Take the track New Bones (I Gotta Know) for instance; the song starts with the aforementioned alternative fret-board tapping and it lulls you into an interesting calm before the storm. Then those huge riffs get your head banging before Will Blood launches into another epic chorus.

Other highlights include Constant Entertainment with its’ awesome guitar solo that adds a fantastic element to the song that doesn’t sound self-indulgent in the slightest. I Decided Long Ago also surprises with a short, sharp, shock of hardcore punk that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Refused album.

The only real downside to the record is that with so many different styles and influences affecting the sound, it can sometimes suffer from a flow that doesn’t ease each song into the next and creates a jarring stop/start effect. Eager Teeth’s self-titled debut can feel like a random collection of songs from the band’s back catalogue and less of a polished album that was mixed and mastered to ease the listener through the many facets of the band’s sound.

However, this isn’t an album spoiler and as already mentioned, the band put forward a brilliant collection of songs with amazingly infectious melodies that won’t leave you until a long time after the record finishes. Eager Teeth have a wonderfully original sound that is fully realised on their self-titled album, but we can’t help but think that if the record was arranged and mastered with a different running order then it might flow a lot better.

8/10

Eager Teeth’s self-titled debut album is released March 18th through A Wolf at Your Door Records. You can pre-order it from Banquet Records now.