Last December saw British alternative rock quartet Hercules Morse impress and grab attention with the release of debut EP Edge Of Life. It was a vigorously infectious collection of songs seeded in the rousing rock ‘n’ roll of bands such as Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age. There was also an unmistakable individuality in sound and character of songwriting to the release which suggested the Southampton hailing band had something fresh to share with the British rock scene. Its successor Equine Size Comparison confirms that thought and more, offering five tracks which grab ears with their invention and again mercilessly catchy prowess. It continues from where its predecessor left off, inciting the listener in spirit and body while revelling in another step forward in the imagination of Hercules Morse.
With shows alongside the likes of Turbowolf, Band of Skulls, Brant Bjork, Tiger Cub, Orange Goblin, Black Peaks, Blaze Bayley, and Dinosaur Pile Up under their belts since forming in 2014, Hercules Morse have earned the praise and support of various UK magazines, music sites, and radio shows through their energetic live presence and that impressive first EP. As the quintet of virulence posing as songs grips ears here, it is easy to expect the same kind reactions for Equine Size Comparison but in greater eagerness and across broader spotlights.
As with previous songs, the new EP mixes the familiar with new imagination resulting in encounters which instantly feel like existing friends while venturing into fresh pastures. It all starts with Asleep At The Wheel, a proposition entangling ears in bluesy grooves and swinging rhythms from its first breath. Riffs and hooks are as quickly in the mix, all inviting the listener to take notice as melodies and the potent vocals of rhythm guitarist Steve George stroll the weave of persuasion. The growl from the bass of Paul Shott colludes devilishly with the scything swings of drummer Guillaume Redonnet-Brown, both driving the energy and heart of the song as lead guitarist Harry Gardner spins imaginative melodies while vocally backing George.
It a powerfully infectious and anthemic start which simply continues through The Boss, a song with as many similar lures to its body as new twists and turns to get the teeth into. There is a swagger to the track which borders mischievous, rhythms at the core as it flirts and the band roars musically and vocally. As with the last EP, there is no escaping Josh Homme/ Dave Grohl led influences across Equine Size Comparison and especially this second song though at times it equally reminds of nineties UK band Skyscraper while simultaneously exploring its own adventure.
Nobody’s Fool has a slightly mellower energy though rhythmically it still has a bite and imposing charm driven by the naturally infectious craft of the band. Caressing ears with its lively melodic enterprise, the track easily captivates, if without sparking the spirit as mightily as those around it, before Do It Right strolls in on a dark almost predacious bassline aligned to matching riffs. In no time though, the band uncages another virulent saunter; hooks and grooves equipped to seduce and rhythms loaded with fiercely enticing bait as vocals swing from lure to lure with matching energy and character. Rock ‘n roll does not get much more contagious than this song and indeed the EP in general as proven by its final treat.
Offering an opening prowl of riffs and tempestuous eruptions reminding of Billy Talent, Chemical Lullabies proceeds to blend its own calmer melodic moments with fiery exploits; the Canadian band continuing to be a suitable reference to a thoroughly enjoyable and increasingly gripping proposition. It is a mighty end to a powerfully engaging and enjoyable next step from Hercules Morse, a band heading in the right direction to awakening the hungriest spotlights.
Equine Size Comparison is out now @ https://herculesmorseuk.bandcamp.com/album/equine-size-comparison
Pete RingMaster 08/09/2016
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