Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Album Review: Austeros by Austeros (by Emma Prew)

It doesn’t seem that long ago since Austeros released their debut album, Painted Blue. Well, it was two years ago actually and it was one of the first full-length records I reviewed for this ’ere blog. Thankfully the album was brilliant so that made reviewing it easier for an amateur like me! Two years on and I’d been hoping it was maybe time for a second full-length, particularly after their great 5-track EP, I’ve Got This, that was released last year. Sadly, last month, the Bristol-based three-piece announced that after 5 years of being a band they were calling it a day. This was very sad, not least because I’ve for one reason or another only ever managed to catch them live once – but one time is better than no times. The band will be playing one final show at the wonderful Exchange in Bristol on the 6th July but before that they have left us with one last release, featuring three new(ish) songs.

The first song on the EP is called Raindrops. Beginning fairly slowly with just guitar before the bass and drums come in, shortly followed by the vocals, Raindrops is a song about trying to let go of your anxieties and insecurities and just be yourself  – therefore ‘shedding your raindrops’. If you don’t know Austeros (shame on you!) then you won’t know that they play a brand of indie punk and lead vocalist (and guitarist) Jeremy has a superb and, I think, unique voice. It’s that classic Austeros sound that is on display here. The pace picks up into the last third of the song and we are treated to some lovely melodic guitar and the positively assertive line ‘Now we know exactly who we are.’ Next up is Cherished. When I first listened to this EP and this song, I thought I recognised Cherished and it turns out there’s a reason for that. It was actually previously released on I’ve Got This (hence why I said newish songs up there in my intro) although that version was an acoustic rendition. It’s is only a short track at less than 2 minutes in length but Austeros pack a lot into that timeframe. The bass kicks things off as Jeremy sings affirmatively about being able to be happy – ‘I’ve got this, I am worthy of being happy, Oh I’ve got this, I am cool.’ The lyrics and the melody makes me feel happy too and it’s great to hear what was already a good song played by the whole band as well. Lastly we have Eyelids, opening with the ever so slightly gloomy lyrics ‘I’ve been staring at the back of my eyelids, It beats the ugliness I see with my eyes open wide.’ I think the first two songs were fairly positive and uplifting but what Eyelids lacks in positivity, at least to begin with, it makes up for with pure emotion. This is another slower paced track but there is a definite sense of building throughout its duration as the volume is cranked up and the passion levels in the vocals are upped too. The repetition of the line ‘Is this all we’ve got?’ offers up one last singalong opportunity – and not just for the EP but the band in general. Following an encouraging remark of ‘I don’t think so.’, Eyelids ends with an instrumental outro where Austeros give every last thing they’ve got – some keys included.

If it has to end, then at least Austeros ended with three more great songs for us to listen to again and again. This is a band that will be sorely missed both in the UK’s DIY punk scene and further afield. Austeros, we love you.

You can stream and download the EP on Bandcamp and like Austeros on Facebook, for old times sake.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

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