Saturday, 13 January 2018

Album Review: Winter Songs From Summer Bruises by Traverse (by Emma Prew)


Traverse are a four-piece indie punk band from Paris, France. Formed in the summer of 2015, they released their first EP in early 2016 titled Winter Songs From Summer Bruises. Not being someone who is up to date with French punk rock, or indeed all that much European punk rock in general, I hadn’t heard about Traverse until more recently. The record label behind the EP, Bad Wolf Records, appear to have only recently set up a their Bandcamp page which is how I came across Winter Songs From Summer Bruises, as well as the label’s other releases, when clicking about the new arrivals in punk. I had a little listen and liked what I heard so figured, new or not, the EP deserved a review.


Winter Songs From Summer Bruises opens with Lights Off. This is a fairly short track, actually all of the songs on this EP are less than 3 minutes long and all 5 total less than 12 minutes – proper punk rock! Lights Off is a catchy and upbeat tune that sounds more uplifting than it actually is. ‘I’ve cleaned the mess in my head, But when I look in your eyes, I see nothing but myself, Falling over again.’ The second song of the EP, Lifelines, opens with an awesome guitar riff that stays present throughout the first verse. It’s darn catchy. There is perhaps more of an indie sound coming through with this song while the punk rock takes a slight backseat. There are however some nice somewhat shouty backing vocals. Towards the end of the song is a slower, quieter bridge section which builds until the volume returns for final verse. ‘May my dark thoughts stay with me, To turn them all into a blaze, If it feels like nothing's changing, We'll fight in an alcoholic haze.’ All I Never Wanted To Be is next up and has an almost eerie reverby guitar fuelled intro accompanied by pounding drums – not exactly what I was expecting on this EP, which is no bad thing. It’s clear to me by this third track that Traverse are a band that pack a lot of emotion into their songs and this is perhaps most apparent with All I Never Wanted To Be. Lines like ‘Staring at a glass I can barely hold in my hands, A thousand failures drawn on my lifeline.’ and ‘So, I raise my glass, keeping me safe from my greatest fears, Choked up with bruises, wishing for the sun to never come.’ show the darkness of struggling with negative feelings and, sometimes, trying to numb the pain with alcohol. 

The penultimate song of Winter Songs From Summer Bruises is called Rooms. As the shortest song of the EP, at a minute and a half long, it isn’t a great surprise that this track has more of a pop punk sound – all the better to pack those lyrics into. Rooms is a short, fast and furious song about knowing you need to make changes in your life for the better, except that is usually easier said than done. There is a neat melodic guitar breakdown after a minute, which is actually two thirds of the way through the track, before the song ends on a more positive note. ‘Now every second I become more awakened, Gotta get up and run before I rust, Start acting, take all this in my hands, choke it, This time I’m sure I can handle it.’ Oh, and did I mention there are some woah-ohs? Everyone loves the punk rock ‘woah’. The More Miles, The Less Troubles is the final track and it kicks off with a rough-around-the-edges almost folk punk sound. The opening lyrics are particularly great – ‘Broken but not defeated, Rough roads for troubled hearts, We never played to win, But we own this time anyway.’  Those are fine words to live by if you ask me. So we had the woah-ohs in the last song but what else makes for a great punk song? An immensely singalong-able chorus of course! And Those More Miles, The Less Troubles certainly has one – spoiler alert: it starts with the song title. There are plenty of sadder moments on Winter Songs From Summer Bruises but I think with the the fifth and final track we are given an uplifting ending.

I was a little late to the party but better late than never, eh? Check out Winter Songs From Summer Bruises if you like all things melodic indie punk. Plus, according to their Facebook, Traverse have an album due out in March so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that.

You can stream and download Winter Songs From Summer Bruises on Bandcamp and like Traverse on Facebook.

This album review was written by Emma Prew.