From its opening seconds Acquiesce To Violence, the debut EP from UK rock band Digits, scowls and roars like a close cousin to former southern England alternative rock/heavy metal pioneers Reuben. The release never takes its foot off of that pedal right through to its conclusion and though the North East quartet has some way to go before being comfortably mentioned in the same level of acclaim, their introduction certainly suggests that they could be on the right lines. The EP is a pleasingly abrasive and inviting fire of passion and sound, one which despite some limitations manages to ignite impressed reactions and a rich appreciation of the promise offered; a release which makes you want to watch Digits closely ahead.
The band was started by vocalist/guitarist Chris Bradley and bassist Stu Latham after the demise of previous and locally acclaimed band Cut Glass Accent. Bringing in drummer Dan Cooper and guitarist Craig Strawbridge, the duo found a ready line-up to explore and create the heavy sounds they were after, music which in the words of Bradley “is always changing and evolving; has big choruses and interesting time signatures.” A constant of live shows and writing followed, leading to the band recording their EP at the end of last year. It is an entrance which deviously gets stronger the more time spent with it, that effort allowing its full persuasion to work on the imagination and securing thoughts and emotions firmly in its and the band’s favour.
Opener Acquiesce unloads heavy riffs and troublesome rhythms from its first breath as well as a raging vocal squall from Bradley. Right away that Reuben reference erupts in the mind, especially as the song settles into a plaintive mid-paced assault with angst lit sonics and discord bleeding guitars exciting the senses. It is a compelling passage which stirs up thoughts and passions, though one where occasionally the vocals fail to hold their strength in the cleaner offerings and as a whole is too much like Jamie Lenman and co to recruit all the acclaim the track maybe deserves. There is inventive guitar adventure throughout the fury which is thoroughly compelling though, as is the whole ever twisting range and exploit of the song. It all makes for a formidable and incendiary start to the release, one soon matched by its successor.
Golden, the new video single, makes a less forceful entrance but undoubtedly has all the goods to captivate attention and spark further the already awoken appetite for the band’s sound. Melodically soaked hooks and intrigue wraps around the sinewy yet reserved core of the track, the mix a tantalising lure ridden by the lyrical antagonism and vocal expression. The song is not quite the equal of its predecessor but easily continues the hold of the EP on emotions, its closing passage cleverly anthemic despite being just firm beats and a satisfying melee of vocal calls from the band before arousing one last blaze of sonic enterprise.
The virulently contagious enticement of the opening to Visceral is magnificent, arguably the finest moment of the release; guitars and bass entwining the ears in a rivetingly virulent web of grooves and acidically enhanced hooks. It is an irresistible initial enslavement which almost causes a groan when the song steps into a mellow if sturdy caress for vocals to begin their narrative. A dual vocal attack ensures the quality is retained and then inflamed by the sonic flames and melodic toxicity which fuels the riotous invention of sound to follow. The track ebbs and flows perfectly and never relinquishes its grip on the now hungry reactions to song and release, and though the EP continues to be a seemingly heavily Reuben influenced encounter it makes a feisty persuasion.
The following Violence is another more than decent proposition but one which has too many elements similar to previous tracks on the release, grooves and riffs which make you double take on which song you are in. Its caustic melody encased parts though stand individual making the track a worthy companion for the ears and its accomplished body is another meaty encounter for thoughts to dwell on and find satisfaction from.
Acquiesce To Violence is completed by firstly the radio edit of Golden, which is annoying to be honest, the omission of the ‘profanity’ of the original just making the track sound like it has a stutter, and lastly Livers, a song which has a swagger to its presence and an appealing mischief to its enterprise but is not a patch on the first quartet of songs. Digits has presented a richly satisfying and strongly exciting debut, one which shows this is a band in evolution but thrillingly going in the right direction. It is hard not to suspect that their future will be full of aural adventure and inventive craft, the band breeding a promise which anticipation has to watch.
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