Epic Problem – Lines EP

Epic Problem Photo Courtesy of Chalkmanvid

Epic Problem Photo Courtesy of Chalkmanvid

    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 OB-GD17D.pdfnot 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

https://www.facebook.com/epicproblemuk

http://epicproblem2.bandcamp.com/album/lines-7

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/02/2014

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Spineless Yes Men – Better Side of the Bar EP

Formed in 2009, UK rock band Spineless Yes Men has grown with their vibrant imaginative sound into one of the emerging bands ready to explode into national recognition. A fusion of rock and punk with refined melodic veins, their sound has captured the affections of an ever growing legion of fans and with their latest EP Better Side of the Bar, the band is poised to engage imaginations far and wide.

The line-up of vocalist Tommy Towers, guitarists Chris Doughty and Chris Keats, bassist Jack Doughty, and Bernie O’Reilly on drums, have raised their bar over the past six months, the band playing a flurry of headline shows around London and sharing stages alongside the likes of MxPx, Nothington, Our Time Down Here and Apologies, I Have None. April of this year saw them enter Animal Farm Studios to record Better Side of the Bar, a release consisting of three dramatic and mischievous songs which engage the heart and invigorate energies.

The release starts off with the band anthem Poem, Poem, the fan favourite which has become the aural signature of the band. Re-recorded for the release the song instantly charms the ear with its knocking rhythms, tingling chords and the expressive vocals of Towers. The song lingers in its initial restrained yet compulsive gait, creating a building presence before stretching into its full stride and igniting the passions through surging riffs, attention grabbing beats, and the wonderful moody bass sounds of Doughty. The middle of the song fires up a sizzling blues tinged breath from the guitars to throw flames across the ceiling of the song. Boisterously infectious and openly urgent the song pushes inviting choruses and fiery melodic plumes through the ear. It is irresistible, so much so that if you manage to resist joining in someone would be checking your pulse for life.

The other two songs on the EP are brand new and further show the expressive songwriting and inventive craft of the band. Dickens Would Have Made You A Gentleman stomps through the ear with a fresh punk energy and rock n roll contagious passion. There is a swagger to the guitars and again an expressive flourish to the tones of Towers which invites participation. As catchy as its predecessor, the song is a pulsating slab of punk n roll perfectly defined and shaped. The band again expand the song with inventive diversions and smart layers of harmonies and melodically driven aural winks to make it all unpredictable and thoroughly contagious.

The closing Raindrop Shadows is a beefier price of rock which holds back on the infectious intent to bring a more inciteful and muscular presence which evokes slightly different but equally positive responses. Whereas the first two songs have a Innercity Pirates and Max Raptor roguish quality this track is a smouldering almost bruising piece of rock with elements which has essences of a Social Distortion or New Found Glory spicing the original Spineless Yes Men sound.

Better Side of the Bar is a great introduction to Spineless Yes Men and one can only expect it to be the spark to the beginning of greater things from and for the band ahead. We for one will be watching very closely.

https://www.facebook.com/SpinelessYesMen

RingMaster 08/10/2012

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