Of any genre, trying to stand out from the crowd in pop punk seems to be one of the hardest feats. Trying to breed something dramatically unique in sound is something which many a great band have struggled to master. Some bands though, inspire the belief that even if their music is not majorly distinct initially, they have the potential and imagination to breach that particular plateau. Listening to the debut EP from British sextet Better Than Never that promise is certainly an open possibility. Embracing other flavours in its feisty pop punk sound, Homemade Hero offers four fresh and rousing songs that hint at something individual in the making.
Oxford bred; Better Than Never emerged in 2013 and quickly set about honing their sound and craft whilst growing into a vibrant proposition on the local live scene. Arriving at the line-up of vocalist James Harris, bassist Jake Aitman, drummer Kane McIntosh, and the three pronged guitar attack of Max Peniket, Jim Allsop, and Will Keating, who also adds backing vocals to the mix, Better Than Never entered The Ranch Production House in Southampton last year to record their first release.
What emerged was Homemade Hero; a tenacious quartet of songs soaked in infectious sound and swiftly grabbing attention. It makes a reserved yet firmly enticing start with Heads Shoulders Knees Bones, a song which itself makes a restrained entrance but soon erupts into a boisterous gait though the reins stay on a touch. The potent mix of Harris and Keating’s vocals soon have a say though and lead an eager canter of riffs and melodic hooks to liven up song and listener further. It is a potent if understated and over comfortable beginning, in comparison of the songs to come, to the release but one which nevertheless leaves ears keen and satisfied and the imagination hooked.
It is a success which Back Of The Line Kid seizes with a more dynamic and resourceful character. Straight away the vocals have richer expression as an alternative /indie rock essence flavours the far more unpredictable and fiery enterprise blossoming within the track. Bands like The Jacques and Asylums spring to thoughts as the track shows inventive adventure with the anthemic power of its punk side adding a Taking Back Sunday air to the excellent proposition and pinnacle of the EP.
The following Panama, which features Andrew Soares and Matt Poulton, swings and bellows with vibrant energy and fiery attitude next. The vocal blend across band and song alone is a pungent lure and more than matched by the infectious urgency and aggressive ferocity that ebbs and flows across its creative borders. Like a bridge between the characters of the first pair of songs, it leaves enamoured ears behind for the closing creative web of Dead Weight to entangle and pleasure. Again a broader flavouring is woven into the anthemic prowess of the encounter, where for the fourth time the trio of guitars create something which employs all their individual enterprise without becoming too over involved or imposing on the flowing virulence of the song.
That craft and the EP itself, is another the sign of a band with the potential to make a potent mark on the UK rock scene, especially as the undercurrent of real individuality in the release and Better Than Never’s imagination blossoms ahead.
The Homemade Hero EP is available from on February 19th via Fox Records @ http://betterthannever.bandcamp.com
Pete RingMaster 18/02/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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