A teasing and provocative dance for the ear, Romulus the new EP from UK indie conjurors Darwin and the Dinosaur is a tingly magnetic treat which leaves one smouldering in contentment. It is not necessarily the most immediate of pleasures, though has no weakness in persuading a willing acceptance of the good time it offers, but one which leads one back into its melodic arms far more constantly than other releases over reliant on easy lazy hooks.
Formed in 2008, the Norwich quintet of has earned a strong adoring following and firm acclaim through their sounds, shows, and previous releases including their debut album and a pair of EPs, the last self-titled quartet of songs from September of last year taking the praise and recognition for the band to greater heights. Romulus is set to elevate things further with its seven incisive sharply crafted gems and take Alan Hiom (bass/vocals), Alex Ware (guitar/vocals), Ben Piper (guitar/vocals), Steve Larke (guitar/vocals) and Joe Mears (drums), to a new level of deserved recognition.
Musically the band forge a melodic post punk and alternative rock fuelled sound with eighties whispers and sonic tinkering which is compelling and absorbing. It teeters between the more psyche sounds of bands like We Are The Physics and Innercity Pirates and the subtler tender caresses of a Radio Friendlies or Young The Giant, dipping toes in both wells with accomplished craft and skilled expression. As soon as opening track Mow Mow lies down a canvas of jangly guitars with shaped emotive tones, attention is keen to delve deeper especially as the following eager and jabbing rhythms bring another level of potency to the track. Not for the first time on the EP, the bass of Hiom is a stirring and irresistible lure alongside his own plain but compellingly expressive vocals backed by strong group harmonies. It is not a song which makes an instant anthemic companion but one which lingers and coaxes strong attraction to its stylish charms.
The following Liebe holds a similar gait with an additional gentle wind in its sails and enchanting breath to its emotive whispers. There is always a steely spine to the songs of the band though which within this track holds a firm direction to allow the sonic tenderness and reserved swagger to wrap around with skilled invention. Neither of the first two songs offers startling hooks to hang the memory on but both make for engaging and impacting companions within their presence.
October enters on a melodic swing accompanied by again great infectious basslines and rapping rhythms. As the track continues into its hearty depths, senses picking guitars add a teasing spicery to the stance of the song whilst the vocals and harmonies continue to bring a captivation throughout. It is a rich mixture which for personal tastes only lacks a snarl to match some of the suggested punk airs across the song. The track is one of the brighter sparks on the release which reflects almost negatively on its successor Stupid Is As Stupid Does, a song which in the shadow of the first three lacks a strong voice; despite that it is still a brief slice of fiery emotion and refined craft which makes for an enjoyable time.
The release leaves its greatest moments to the latter half of its stay starting with the thirty second growl of the pop punk bruise Lady Die. The track has the bite which one is searching for elsewhere and just ignites those old punk passions whilst weaving lashes of melodic pop to make a tasty brew. F**K You And The Horse You Rode In On continues in the same vein though with a full body to its creative intent. It recalls elements of the Television Personalities with its self-deprecation and uncluttered expanse of sound and again pulls a greater adoration its way than in the earlier songs.
Closing with 16s, a punchy sizzling stretch of incisive energy and flaming imagination, and the best track on the EP such its combative attitude and powerful presence of smouldering melodic flames, Romulus is an impressive release which places Darwin and the Dinosaur as one of the more promising indie bands in the UK. Not quite flawless but wholly enthralling, Romulus is a first marker for 2013 for bands to aim for.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright