Stream here: https://despiteeverything.bandcamp.com/album/trails
Full disclosure: I have the pleasure of knowing these guys so maybe this review is biased but at the same time, maybe I don’t give a shit because this EP is better than most EPs I’ve heard this year. Also, just look at how handsome these dudes are:
photo by Christos Sarris
Hey guys, who’s your favourite Greek punk band? Oh, you don’t know any? That’s cool because I’m here to educate your dangerous minds like a modern day Michelle Pfeiffer.
Hailing from the birthplace of democracy, these modern day Platos have been putting out records since ’09 and touring relentlessly since. Their 2014 record “The Dawn Chorus” showed the band transitioning into a more melodic and catchier sound and their 2016 release, Trails, picks up where they left off and guess what? It’s better in every single fucking way.
Let’s start with production - this records sounds rad. It’s clean, tight and punchy with each instrument having enough room in the mix to really shine through - this is a much more focussed record than their previous releases. Which is awesome because there are shitload of hooks, melodic riffs and sing-along choruses to get stuck in your ever degrading grey matter. Enough of the sound babble, are the songs any good?
Just kidding, there’s not a bad track on here (ಠ⌣ಠ)
Like any good story, let’s start at the beginning. From this point onwards this review will mimic the structure of a soft-core erotic novella.
Tangled Lines (The lovers undress each other)
Boy do I love a good fade in, yeah maybe it’s not that original but what is these days? Have you seen the latest Gillette razor? I swear every “upgrade” they just add another blade and some sexy racing stripes as well as a vibrate feature (ladies 😉) to get “The closest shave ever™”. Much like a razor, this song cuts straight in with crisp instrumentation juxtaposed against gruff, raspy vocals. One thing that’s immediately evident - things are a little slower, more mid-tempo and more deliberate. The chorus is catchy as fuck. There’s a cool breakdown which initially I though was wanky, but I now air guitar to. 🎸
Dead Weight (The lovers softly caress each other)
Another mid-tempo banger that breaks straight into driving guitars and lovely guitar work throughout the whole track. What’s this? Another catchy chorus with a rad guitar riff to complement it? Yes ma’am! Drums and bass are perfectly locked in, keeping this song tight and allowing the voice and guitars to shine. Towards the end, things mellow out slightly and there are even some decent woahs, which are notoriously hard to nail before the track bangs your face clean off your head leaving you faceless like Nicholas Cage in that one movie.
Joke’s On Us (Foreplay)
The first single released and, with it, an awesome video:
A song about alienation, growing up and wondering where you are in life. Possibly my favourite song on this EP mostly due to THAT chorus and THAT guitar riff. Great gang vocals again leading into an awesome bridge (guitars sounding delightful here) and then an outro - this song just powers through and does not let up. Did I mention these guys were handsome? Check out the video and see what I mean.
My Day (Missionary position)
Click ins. I like them - it’s like you’re seeing the band live which is cool because this song’s a fast one. It starts off similar to the other tracks, gruff and melancholic then the chorus hits and it’s - kinda happy? The lyrics aren’t, but the music is slightly more upbeat and that makes it stick out and burrow itself into your brain like one of those crazy pork tapeworms. There’s even an awesome breakdown - not something you hear often in gruff punk stuff so it’s a refreshing inclusion. Possibly my second favourite song on this record.
Watered Down (Missionary position)
This is the “softest” song on the record. Things get mid-tempo again and dare I say it, a little pop-punk in places? Another great chorus and an ever better bridge make this a nice break before the final song. Lyrically I think it’s about watering down your wine to make it last longer? I mean I know there’s a financial crisis going on, but come on guys. Please buy this record so the band can enjoy undiluted wine.
High and Dry (Climax followed immediately by shame and disappointment)
The last song. Time to go out in style. What a pretty little intro, it reminds me of some of their more instrumental tracks on The Dawn Chorus. Could it be a soft little number to see us out? NOPE, IT’S A FUCKING TRAP BITCHES. Just as you’re settling into a melodic intro the song bursts into life and grabs you by the scrotum. Musically it’s the most nostalgic and melancholic of the six tracks but the raspy vocals kick those shitty cobwebs away leading into ANOTHER catchy chorus and fitting outro.
I’m not going to lie. This is not a happy album. But it’s catchy as the measles and is a massive step in the right direction for a band who have finally found their sound. Also, misery loves company so there’s that too.
Catch them at Manchester Punk Festival (20–22 April) and around April in other UK venues!
Get it here: http://despiteeverything.bigcartel.com/
Check them out here: http://www.despiteeverything.net/
Give them a like here: https://www.facebook.com/despiteeverythingmusic