Whilst not setting burning fires with their debut EP, UK alternative rockers Two-Bit Sister make a sizeable and lingering impression with the very enjoyable release. The Jackal EP consists of four rock/pop songs infused with valid essences of blues, grunge, and punk. It is a mix which took a little time to entrench its seeds into the imagination but once there blossomed into a rather pleasing and accomplished endeavour.
The band is the union of Leon Peskett (guitar and lead vocals) and Connor Bluemel (drums and backing vocals), two musicians from Margate who from knowing each other at school and jamming together over previous years united last year for Two-Bit Sister. It was not long before the pair had a clutch of songs and was lighting up shows across the summer of 2013 and beyond. Taking influences from the likes of Nirvana, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Blink-182, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Band Of Skulls into their stripped down yet full sound, the band then set about creating this their first release. The Jackal provides a rich insight into the open potential and imagination of the band, not a release to send the passions on a fevered rapture but certainly one to ignite an eager appetite for them and their future.
The title track opens up the release and despite its vibrant sound and bouncy stride is a little bit of an underwhelming proposition. Though warming to the song over time it never really hits the spot, its folk touching presence lacking the creative and impacting spark which lights up the other tracks. Nevertheless with crisp beats and strolling guitar suasion, the song does swing along with the sound of summer and an engaging melodic prowess matched by the smiling vocals of Peskett. As with all the tracks there is a familiarity to the song, the band’s inspirations an open colour, but it only goes to give this and subsequent offerings an extra contagious element to their adventures.
It is a decent start holding attention but it is the remaining trio of tracks which wake up a keen appetite starting with Turbulence. A shadowed guitar coaxing lures in thoughts first before a wider weave of enterprise from the strings of Peskett allied to the rhythmic temptation of Bluemel increase the temptation. Vocally the tones of Peskett also find a darker lilt whilst the backing of Bluemel brings a mixed weave of croons and harmonies to continue to keep things interesting. A Nirvana-esque expression erupts around the eager chorus whilst the tempered canters in between them explore a more Audioslave like premise. The track is a riveting encounter which seduces more and more over time, potent hooks and grooves persistently marking its passage, and at times reminds a little of fellow British band Feud though it forges its own identity for Two-Bit Sister.
The following Wanna Know has an immediate punk feel to its rawer sound, opening hooks coming with a spice of the Sex Pistols whilst once into its stride the track has a feel of early Buzzcocks to it. With its uncluttered presence and unfussy intent there is also a flavour of Television Personalities to the song, it all adding rich hues to another compelling slice of rock pop from the band. Once more riffs and rhythms combine to offer fully magnetic bait whilst vocally the pair provides a solid and expressive swagger to the stroll of the persuasion. This and its predecessor are the pinnacles of the release, tracks drenched in exciting endeavour and rich promise revealing much more about the songwriting and band than the opening song.
The closing track Times also stands tall, its decent opening caress of guitar and vocals giving no hint of the Weezer styled romp to follow. Though the song never bursts into an over energetic urgency it undeniably strides vivaciously through ears with grooves making gentle persuasions and rhythms providing a sinewy frame. A blues expression breaks out inventively midway, vocals and sounds soaking it up, to further spark up a keen attentiveness towards track and EP. As it entices and romps with the senses, an understanding of why Queens Of The Stone Age references, which have been kindled about the band opens up, though the band again provide a not exactly distinct but a certain individual presence for themselves.
The Jackal EP is a richly satisfying introduction to Two-Bit Sister; a very appetising and enjoyable base for the duo to build and spring from. Creating songs which truly linger long after departure is a craft many bands take time or fail to master, but Peskett and Bluemel do it with ease on their debut which makes them a proposition to watch closely.
The self-released The Jackal EP is available from Monday 21st April from http://two-bitsister.bandcamp.com/
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