Traits are somewhat of a punk rock supergroup from Yorkshire. Featuring members of The Human Project and Random Hand, the band play some fast paced punk rock tunes. In March of 2017 they released their debut EP Limits and to my surprise, given that the band are busy with their other projects, they are getting ready to release a second EP named Illuminate. Traits put the EP up on their Bandcamp page early before its physical release so we could all have a listen. Limits was a very well received EP so I was curious to see if the band could strike gold again.
The opening track of the five song EP is named Less Fortunate. This is the sort of song that you fall in love with immediately. From its heavy opening, the moment Jonny Smith starts singing all the way through to its final note I'm hooked. The power of positivity in the song is strong, it's about taking time out of your life to try and help people who aren't as well off as you. Less Fortunate gets Illuminate off to a blistering start. This flows into the poppier sounding The Good, The Bad & The Down Right Ugly. It starts out slowly with a little guitar work before we get into a really punchy track about going down the pub with your mates and celebrating all the good things that you have in your life and being thankful. Like Less Fortunate there is a great feeling of positivity oozing out of this song.
The third song, Paradigm, is about how all humans are the same despite our backgrounds. It doesn't matter how much stuff you do or don't have, person A is the same as person B who is also the same as person C. As soon as people realise this then we can start to make a positive change for everyone. Musically the song is fairly simple and this really helps make the song's social message become even more impactful. The introduction to the penultimate song, Drop The Status, is superb. Dan Powell's drumming is great on the entire EP but for my money he really shines here. The drumming gets the song going in a powerful fashion and adds so much life to the track throughout its duration. It's about not caring what people think about you and doing your own thing. The fifth and final track is titled I've Made My Bed. I've Made My Bed is one of the heavier sounding songs on Illuminate and finishes the EP off with a bang. Starting out with a mosh pit inspiring introduction before Jonny's soaring vocals come in. Those vocals are great on the entire EP, grabbing my attention from start to finish, leaving me hanging on to every word. The track is about sticking by your choices and being strong enough to get on with things if it turns out to be a wrong decision.
I'm just going to come out and say it - Traits are among the top skate punk bands in the UK and the skate punk scene in the UK is jam packed with amazing bands. It's no surprise that this rules given the other bands some of Traits are in but I don't think I was quite prepared for just how good Illuminate is. This is ace.
Stream and download Illuminate here: https://traitsband.bandcamp.com/album/illuminate
Like Traits here: https://www.facebook.com/traitsband/
This review was written by Colin Clark.