Having caught ears and attention with promise soaked debut EP Acquiesce To Violence in 2013, UK alternative rockers Digits return with its successor Footprints And Embers. All the thoughts bred by its predecessor remain with the new EP, the potential of the band growing into a really striking proposition ahead as persuasive as before. The new four song encounter also shows a solid growth and freshness to the last release but equally carries a rawness at times which occasionally numbs the creative ideation and potency being shown. Despite that, Digits remains a band to keep under close view with the imagination of big things in their future.
The time between releases has been a trying time for the band it is fair to say. Acquiesce to Violence found itself earning plenty of praise and support as well as having tracks gracing cover CDs of Rocksound and Big Cheese Magazines whilst the band shared stages with the likes of Margera, Feed The Rhino, Marmozets, and played the Make A Scene Festival with the likes of Funeral For A Friend, The Blackout and Hacktivist. Since then though injuries have accosted the band; vocalist/guitarist Chris Bradley damaging ligaments in his ankles, guitarist Craig Strawbridge managing to cut off half his thumb, bassist Stu Latham damaging his back, and drummer Dan Cooper having to leave the band due to persistent problems with his wrists. The Newcastle quartet has endured and overcome though, and with Matt Hickman now swinging the sticks and equipped with a host of new songs, Digits are forging on as they unleash Footprints And Embers to pick up from where they were before being temporarily derailed last year.
Embers starts things off, emerging from a distant wash of sound and prowling forward with pungent rhythms, caustic riffs, and a spiralling lure of strong melodic enterprise. It is a strong start but turned into a less successful moment by the blazing roar of raw vocals from Bradley, his tones bullish and clad in a post hardcore texturing which in turn permeates the song and mutes its initial potency. It is something ears soon acclimatise to though, especially when the song grows again by relaxing into a mellow passage with similarly delivered vocals. Courted by a great bass tempting, alluring guitar endeavour seems to light the touch paper to another explosion of intensity and passion. The song ebbs and flows like this throughout its presence, not always winning its persuasion entirely but with wicked grooves and an irresistible anthemic rhythmic baiting from Hickman, the song wins its argument, and becoming stronger and more potent with every listen.
As mentioned the opener has a post hardcore like nature compared to the alternative rock aggression of the following Dysphoria, a song which as some on the last EP, finds a Reuben like essence to its contagious lure of riffs and hooks. There is another drift into an emotive calm in the song which works but maybe not quite as powerfully as it might against the otherwise tenacious and confrontational qualities of the track. Nevertheless, it is a pleasing and compelling lure which overcomes a slight wavering of vocal quality with ease.
The next up Parachutes is of similar breeding, its sinews flexing with every forceful beat and abrasing riff as vocals unite to push the just as fiery narrative of the song through ears. There is a rage to the song which is cleverly tempered yet enhanced by the marauding rhythms and sonic enterprise, they in turn seeming to encourage a spicier vocal ferocity and control. It and its predecessor take the honours on the EP, reminding and pushing forward the reason why the last EP suggested Digits was a brewing storm to watch.
The calmer skies of Eros concludes the album; the song a melodic hug within brooding bass shadows. Bradley proves his vocal strength on the song, bringing Paul Heaton like tone to his delivery, and at times the melodic breath of the song does have a Housemartins like croon before it erupts into a final blaze of roaring intensity speared by a quite inescapable hook. Again it gives thoughts a nudge to the depths and potential of the band whilst providing ears with another highly satisfying offering.
Digits still feel like they are still looking for their own specific sound and have yet to fully tap into the certain potential within them, but with releases like Footprints And Embers it is no hardship to carry on waiting and enjoying the band’s growth.
The Footprints And Embers EP is available digitally from February 2nd via iTunes.
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