Monday, 24 September 2018

Album Review: Mean Caesar by Mean Caesar

The wait is almost over! South London five piece Mean Caesar are just about to release their debut self titled EP - on Little Rocket Records no less! Now you might by thinking "Wait. I've never even heard of Mean Caesar!" The band have been together for about two years now, perfecting their sound before they played their first live show at the beginning of the year. Since then they've been steadily making a name for themselves in the South London punk rock scene, particularly during support slots with The Copyrights, Red City Radio and Apologies, I Have None. I was at all of those shows and Mean Caesar absolutely slayed. So now the wait is almost over for an EP I've been excited to hear for months now. I hope it lives up to the hype.

The opening song on the six track EP is named The Lane. As with any good opening song it serves as a great introduction to what you can expect from Mean Caesar - melodic but raw punk rock music that is filled with plenty of hooks that will have you singing along with the band. Lead singer Danny Lester's vocal adds a great deal of urgency that will really make you care about the song. The bridge of the track in particular stands out and will certainly get a crowd singing "slow it down" with Danny and the rest of Mean Caesar. Up next is Gone. The track opens with a bit of a bang. We get a single drum strike and then the most delicious guitar riff to welcome us into the track before we are lead through a short song about grieving for a loved one and not knowing what to do. The guitars from Oliver Ward and David Littlefair on the third song, Drowning, really caught my attention. There are some really nice little technical riffs that appear throughout the song that accompany the powerful drumming of Stu Morrison superbly. It didn't take long before I found myself wanting to sing along with Danny and it's not too long before I actually can as the song is wonderfully catchy. The song is about falling deeper into a depressed state and needing to escape the situation that you're in.

June 12th is the title of the fourth song on the EP and it has a great extended introduction that builds nicely. The entire song actually builds slowly throughout its duration until we get to a raucous section that features some great gang vocals. In the press release for the EP, Danny says the goal was to make music that was "hooky as hell, with an urgency to it." That is something they have achieved in a great fashion on June 12th. The penultimate track is Blinded Eyes. Blinded Eyes is a real stand out track on the EP, it starts out super melodic and has some warm tones before Danny's raw and gruff vocals come in. I've noticed throughout the EP that Danny's delivery really makes you feel like you're down the pub with him and he's telling you a story. That's something I really enjoy in music. Much like June 12th, the song has this great build that adds to the urgency of the song. Despite the urgency though, Blinded Eyes manages to retain that infectious melody during its big finale. This is superb songwriting. Last up is the EP's lead single, South London Summer. I assume that this is a play on a lyric from their great friends Apologies, I Have None. The song is about finding your own group of friends who you feel at home with. It's plain to see why this song was picked as lead single - it's one of the best tracks any band has released this year. It's got an instantly recognisable guitar introduction and as soon as Danny begins to croon, you're hooked and ready to shout along with him. The lyrics "I’m thankful every day that this bunch of misfits happened to cross my way / We’d prop up the Monty bar where talking endless shit can get you far" really stood out. I loved the little nod to the Montague Arms, a pub in South London that hosted many a DIY punk show during the last few year before it was sadly closed down. Just a cracking song.

I'm really starting to worry about doing my top tens at the end of the year as more and more incredible music continues to be released. Mean Caesar is definitely a contender for EP of the year. With the help of the production skills of Joe Watson, they have created these technically masterful but also powerfully raw songs that grab your attention from the outset and keep you hooked throughout. And then you listen to it again and again and continue to find nice little touches that become your new favourite parts of the song. If you don't know Mean Caesar yet then you certainly will very soon!

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This review was written by Colin Clark.

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