Zero to Hero EP the debut EP from UK pop punksters White Clouds & Gunfire warms the ear and emotions like a summer sun, its melodic radiance and infectious rays hard to resist dipping into. It is one of those releases which you can only find good things to say about, its songs accomplished and vibrant their sound refreshing and flying on heart borne enthusiasm. Unfortunately it also suffers like the majority of releases from melodic rock/pop punk female fronted bands; it sounds like many many others. The band do nothing wrong, the tracks within the release easily accessible and deeply contagious but it still spawns a likeness of sound to that section of the genre. This year alone has seen the emergence of bands such as Me & The Mountain, Hitchcock Blonde, Held By Horses and Leopards, all like White Clouds & Gunfire impressive and all seemingly borne from an overall similarity.
That is the negative out of the way with only enthused emotions inspired for every other aspect of band and release. Formed in 2008, White Clouds & Gunfire have taken time to get into their stride due to line-up instability but 2011 saw a turning point with everything coming into focus and evolving. The Peterborough quintet have drawn strong acclaim across the written press and lit up stages alongside bands such as Army Of Freshmen, Sonic Boom Six, OPM, MC Lars, The Hype Theory, and As We Climb as their enthusiastic work ethic and exciting sounds drives them to greater heights. The Zero To Hero EP is the next step, their national introduction and charge further afield with shows and presence.
You Think You Know Me opens up the release and immediately noticeable is the great growling bass of Rob Woods and the teasing vocals of Eveline Verdegaal. Both have a startling presence which only sparks full attention, though the rest of the band are no less impressive. The opening of the song is restrained in energy and invention but still forms a strong base for the vocals to flourish within. The guitars of Jake Matthews and newest member Ben Scarr (current guitarist with As We Climb) surge and rub against the ear with skill and intelligent melodic touches. The song is constantly intriguing with its additives and slight asides to keep a captivation well within it grasp.
The following Satellite takes the levels higher, its acidic sonics sharp and precise whilst the bass again grumbles magnificently, its tone the perfect temper and compliment to the golden tones of Verdegaal, the sparkling harmonies, and warm melodic flourishes. The track bounces along with unbridled energy but it is a careful mix of smart ideas and finely shaped play which with focus shines brightly. It is all driven by the thumping beats of Lewis Fountain, his powerful rhythmic frames the key to pulling it all into a tight explosion of sizzling enjoyment.
The remaining pair of songs continue to firmly engage, both Stand And Be The Hero and Turn Out The Lights burning a soft spot in the heart. It really is impossible not to have a real attraction for the band, their enchanting fiery breath and sculptured imaginative ideas an insatiable melodic kiss. The first of the pair brings a heavier intensity to its gait, the forceful beats and riffs forging a stirring spine to further fine melodic enterprise. The closing song is simply a greedy riot of catchy and hungry hooks and melodies. Though his vocals have backed up well on other songs, Scarr brings a fuller presence alongside Verdegaal to the song, maybe something to explore deeper and further ahead to set them apart from others, especially when it works this well. The song has a familiarity to it which makes it easy to accept its invitation to join in and ends the release off on a real high.
Zero to Hero is a great feel good slab of melodic rock which deserves much attention. Like other similarly fuelled releases this EP may struggle to make its distinct mark within the field but if there is a band with the talent to find that unique voice ahead it is White Clouds & Gunfire.
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