Feisty, commanding, and seriously contagious, the Lines EP from UK band Epic Problem provides another excuse to claim that the finest punk rock comes from this side of the pond. Ok that is a big debate which can never truly be resolved but the quartet from New Mills, Derbyshire with their latest slab of ferocious and raw anthemic rock ‘n’ roll only add to the evidence. The fact that their sound is seeded in the melodically spawned ‘Gainesville’ punk sound does not deter that declaration either, as Epic Problem simply twist it with further inciting genre additives into something not necessarily unique but openly distinct to themselves. Consisting of four tracks the EP is an adrenaline fuelled stomp which captivates, ignites, and bruises the passions, though not always in that order.
The band formed in 2010 when guitarist Neil ‘Mackie’ Mclennan (from eighties punks Blitz) linked up with vocalist/guitarist Jake McCullough (Dangerfields, Dead Subverts) to sing on songs the former had written. Soon after bassist Tony Morrisson and drummer Greg Boulton joined up and the band worked on writing more songs and preparing their outbreak into the country. Their live debut came supporting The Business in the December of 2011, with the following year starting off a constant flow of shows to now which has seen Epic Problem sharing stages with bands such as Argy Bargy, Subhumans, Dead To Me, Nothington, and The Blacklist Royals. Recordings wise, The Lines EP is the successor to the six track mini album All Broken, a well-received and acclaimed release which the new record is sure to emulate.
The title track kicks things off, riffs and rhythms a caustic force from the start matched by the great abrasive gravelly vocals. It is not long before a delicious tempting of anthemic melodic enterprise and group calls with Mackie and Boulton supplying a rich grazing support to McCullough, breaks out. Thoughts of Leatherface and Dillinger Four make a suggestion though equally the band triggers comparisons to Social Distortion and in some ways fellow Brits, The Vox Dolomites. Truthfully though song and sound whilst offering familiarities forge a presence which is distinct to the band; guitars and vocals a compelling inventive provocation driven by the voracious energy and antagonistic passion of the rhythms.
The following Deny snarls and rips out an urgent pace from its opening second which is as predatory as its predecessor but with a slightly more belligerent gait, or certainly with a different twang to its voice and intensity. The track also lacks the incisive hook of the first song but has no lack of infectiousness to its vocal squall and rhythmic punctuation to its expressive riffs and lyrical croon, a bait elevated by the outstanding Sink, a rowdy anthemic charge of a song taking the best essences of the previous tracks and turning them into another potently addictive brawl of punk rock. The best track on the release, though seriously challenged with each play by the opener, the song alone with its rhythmic taunting and sonic mischief around a virulently catchy hook loaded with a wealth of melodic barbs and an old school fire enhancing its triumph, reinforces the stature of band and genre.
The release is completed by Weak, a cover of The Beltones track. It is an accomplished and passionate offering revealing more of the band’s craft and adventure but as good as it openly is just does not match up to the other tracks. Nevertheless it makes a fine and pleasing end to an excellent release. It might be greedy to want a full-length assault from Epic Problem so soon after the release of the EP but that is the kind of hunger it inspires. Along with many other bands, this explosive treat shows that British punk continues to lead the way for our maybe slightly based thoughts.
The Lines EP is released digitally and via Longshot Music and Rebel Sound Music in the USA, and Rebellion Records in Europe with 100 on Black vinyl, 150 on White vinyl (exclusive to Rebel Sound), 150 on Blue vinyl (exclusive to Rebellion) and 200 on Splatter vinyl (exclusive to Longshot) available.
Check out the video for Lines directed by Chalkman Video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zf0i9i3As0&feature=youtu.be
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