Monday, 16 May 2016

Album Review: Hours Pass by Elk Gang


Elk Gang are a four-piece melodic punk band from Edinburgh who formed in 2014. I first became aware of the band at Book Yer Ane Fest last year and they were one of the biggest highlights of the weekend, so I'm over the moon that they have finally released their debut mini album Hours Pass on lead singer and guitarist Kevin Cameron's own Anti Manifesto Music.


The opening song on Hours Pass is named Forgive & Forget. This track starts in the highest of gears with every instrument being played as fast as humanly possible before we are actually treated to a mid-tempo but hard-hitting punk rock banger. Kevin's vocals are punchy and in your face on the verse but full of melody for the chorus. I love the section later on in the song when his vocals are backed with some screaming harmonies, adding some great intensity to the song. Are You The Keymaster? is the name of the second song. This track also starts with some fantastic in-your-face vocal delivery. This kind of thing really gets me pumped up for a song from the outset. It's a song about going for your dreams despite what people might think. The chorus goes "You Told Me To My Face, That I'll Finish In Last Place, But You Don't Understand, My Potential". Pretty uplifting stuff! Well This Is Terrifying is a slower rock song. Something I really enjoyed about the track is that, despite the slower tempo, it's still very hard hitting. There is a lot more melody in the vocals and some excellent harmonies during the chorus.

Let's Have The Greatest New Year Eve Ever starts out with some interesting jangly guitars, different from anything on the release so far. The song feels kind of muted throughout and never really kicks off like I would have expected it to. Not necessarily a negative thing though as it shows a softer and more tender side to Elk Gang’s musical talents. Great New Year also serves as a bit of an intro, soundwise at least, to the following song Repeat Reading. After some more of the jangling guitar work the song explodes into life with some intense vocals. The song uses reading a book multiple times as a metaphor for keeping going at a relationship that isn't working. There is a line in the chorus that really hit home - "Emotionally Attached To Something That Breaks Your Heart". The penultimate song on Hours Pass is called Days Pass. Days Pass really reminded me of Pennywise on first listen, just with a little more melody and a heavier feel to the skate punk sound. That is until the end where the song transitions into a slightly more emotional sound with a slower tempo and what I imagine makes a great sing-along ending to the song when Elk Gang play live. The final song is titled Join A Local Sports Team. This song starts very fast and very furious. I really like the message of this song, advising youngsters to go outside and play rather than spending all of their time sat behind a TV or computer screen. Going out and doing something is the best form on entertainment and it's so good for your health. I love the positivity that Elk Gang end Hours Pass with.

For a debut release Elk Gang should be very proud of themselves as it is absolutely fantastic. The Scottish punk scene has so many fantastic bands and despite the relative newness Elk Gang have to be positioned as one of the best in that scene. I've seen that they are a fantastic live band; turns out they're also great on record.

Stream and download Hours Pass here: https://elkgang.bandcamp.com/releases

Like Elk Gang here: https://www.facebook.com/elkgangmusic/