Monday, 3 September 2018

Album Review: Reasons To Breathe by Uniforms

Ever since Uniforms front man Derrick Johnston announced during their late night set at this year's Manchester Punk Festival that the band were releasing a new EP through Make-That-A-Take and TNSRecords during the summer I've been excitedly waiting to hear it. This EP, titled Reasons To Breathe, is their first since February 2015's excellent Pink Couch EP. The Dundee four piece play a gritty brand of melodic punk rock, proudly wearing their influences and emotions on their sleeves throughout.

The EP begins with the song Get Me Out Of Here. This is a mid-tempo pop punk banger that you'll be singing along with almost instantly. The chorus of "I'm getting out, get me out of here" is one that will be stuck in your head for a long old time. The track is one with a positive message about showing people situations aren't as bad as they might appear and how sometimes you need to get away from those bad situations for things to improve. Get Me Out Of Here really finishes with a flurry – after a brief breakdown, Derrick's voice explodes as he screams the lines "sometimes you gotta go, sometimes you got to go to know." The rawness in the vocal really hits home. Up next is My Wise Friend. What a wonderful song this is. This is exactly how I like my pop punk music. There's a bounciness about the music that doesn't feel forced, it's a natural sound that helps maintain the positive vibes of the EP. The song is about learning from mistakes and realising that some of life's important lessons can only be taught by yourself. As soon as the vocals kick in I found myself wanting to sing along with Derrick and those subtle gang vocals during the chorus had me just thinking "yes, I love this!"

Searchlights falls more into a gruff melodic punk rock style rather that the poppier sound of the opening two tracks. Derrick's voice is at its grittiest best, giving the song more of a serious and retrospective sound. I enjoyed how the song, at multiple times throughout the track, teased really kicking into another gear but never did until right at the very end. This show of restraint in the songwriting really added to the whole atmosphere of Searchlights. When it does eventually hit those heights, it adds so much more emotion to the track. The fourth song is a digital exclusive that doesn't actually appear on the 7 inch version of Reasons To Breathe. Titled The Constant Here Is You, the track starts slowly with just guitar and vocals welcoming us into the song. When the full band join in there is this infectious energy that pours out of the song and makes it very hard not to get swept away with the song. Here we have another song with a great positive message about finding yourself realising that things aren't as bad as you thought – things are actually okay. I loved this positive way to finish this superb EP.

Reasons To Breathe is an EP that was very much worth the wait. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I've been excited for its release since April and I was in no way disappointed with the finished product. Uniforms have returned seemingly reinvigorated and have perhaps just put out the best release of their careers so far. Reasons To Breathe is packed full of positive messages that we all need in this day an age. It won't be long until you're singing proudly along with these cow punk bangers. A top contender for EP of the year for sure.

Stream and download Reasons To Breathe here:

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This review was written by Colin Clark.

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