Death Valley Girls – Darkness Rains

Death Valley Girls released their third album 'Darkness Rains' last October via Suicide Squeeze Records. They are currently on a monster tour across the US, Europe and will soon be in the UK. To whet everyone's appetite, we look back at 'Darkness Rains'.

Every so often, bands like The Pistols, The Clash, The Strokes, and The Libertines hit the reset button on a bloated rock music scene. Death Valley Girls have this spirit at their core. The likes of '(One Less Thing) Before I Die' and 'Wear Black' personify this but with the muscular guitars a stinging vocals.

This album goes further than resetting the wheel though. The punk spirit is met with psychedelic garage guitars, giving new meaning to dangerous. The growling hiss of 'Disaster (Is What We Are After)' spirals out of control in a frenzied mash up of Jim Jones Revue meets BRMC circa 'Spectre At The Feast'.

'Unzip Your Forehead' harness' the primal nature of early Sabbath with big meaty riffs before Bonnie Bloomgarden's spiky Kate Bush vocal elevates everything to a new psychedelic plain. There is a realness to their psyche, its not floaty or hazy, its firmly rooted in the chaos of modern life. The howling solo in the closing stages is the perfect scream of “wwwwhhhhyyyy” every time their tapeworm of a President takes to Twitter.

'Abre Camino' ferociously stares into the abyss with its The Blinders-esque guitar licks. Like their peers, they have found a way to unite the voiceless via a demented and destructive form psyche punk rock.

This is not for the faint of heart. This is a courageous and vehement act of defiance in a world on the edge of a dystopian nightmare.

Darrah: The Railway, Southend

To mark the release of their new single, Southend's Darrah played a packed show at The Railway.

This was alternative pop music at its finest. Shimmering synths, psyche guitars and killer choruses. 'Can't Tax The Sun' was The Pixies through the prism of bubblegum pop. It was so infectious, it was dangerous.

On 'Stars' and the solo performed 'Pothole', Darrah displays an ability to pitch the rhythm of a set way beyond his years. 'Stars', a hazy Real Estate meets Teenage Fanclub affair, drifts by effortlessly. Meanwhile, 'Pothole' stripped everything back to showcase his estuary vocal at its most intimate.

The set closes on the new single 'Business' and, on this showing, it will be for many years to come. As the guitars throb away, Darrah's instinct for a vocal hook shines bright. There are hints of Lydon, Bowie and Albarn throughout, and by the time the synths start to sparkle, it becomes something quite special indeed.

Twist Helix - Ouseburn

Based in Newcastle, Twist Helix have been at the of North East’s burgeoning DIY since their debut album was released last October. Having been tipped off about them by the glorious Bugeye, we decided to delve into the album.

Concept albums are always a bold move. Many fall by the wayside. So, it comes as quite the shock to see one on a debut album. Nevertheless, tired of clichés such as “a city in decline” and “people left behind”, Twist Helix have shone a light on the artistic undercurrent of the city.

Former singles 'Newcastle' and 'Ouseburn', although local in content, will pull in like-minded souls from pockets of cities and seaside towns that artists have bred life into (Southend and Hastings for examples). 'Ouseburn', sparkles with synth pop a la Passion Pit circa 'Manners' as it meanders its way like the Tyne & Weir river.

‘Newcastle’ though, is a clarion call to all those who thought they were alone in believing their town or city is more than what their told it is. It opens with perhaps the most defiant and inspiring opening line of an album in recent years: 

“This city is not sleeping / It’s dreaming”

It's not all shades of light though. 'Little Buildings' and 'Collapse', demonstrate the sense of loss that has penetrated the social conscious of places like Newcastle in recent times. Unlike blow hard social commentators, they’ve tapped into a spirit and a feeling that paints pictures of both rage and hope. The courage to bring a poetic soul to a fight the rich will resonate the length of breadth of the UK.

Former single 'Graphite' signifies a future beyond their local horizons. Musically, it combines pop dynamism of X Ray Spex with the finer exponents of indie-electronica of the late 00s (Reverend & The Makers, Sunshine Underground). Something bigger beckons for them here.

When you look at the recent success of Zola Jesus or Austra, the festival circuit could be great for Twist Helix this year.

*Image courtesy of Paul Black Music

Desperate Journalist - In Search Of The Miraculous

London’s Desperate Journalist release their third album ‘In Search of the Miraculous’ (Fierce Panda) on February 22nd. From their self-titled debut (2014) to ‘Grow Up’ (2017), the progress in quality was stark. Can they do it again on what is, loosely a concept album about sing Jo Bevan’s obsession with artist Bas Jan Arder.

Despite the high concept, their pop instincts remain, and, in the case of ‘Jonatan’ and ‘Cedars’ have significantly improved. ‘Jonatan’ is The Cult via Wolf Alice’s shoegaze tendencies. It creates a joyous sonic to a tragic tale. Bevan lost her friend Kasper in 2016 and here, she not only pays tribute but, in the repeated one-word chorus, embeds heartache, love, loss, anger, and nostalgia with every inflection with astonishing quality.

Lead single ‘Cedars’, is one of those pop songs you’d be forgiven for fast forwarding to the chorus’ hypnotic release of “Another fraying jumper”. It’s a wonderful pay off to the subtle and poetic verses.

Their previous two albums, musically, have often served as a vehicle to showcase Jo Bevan’s sublime vocal prowess. Now, guitarist Rob Hardy has found a vein of form so rich, its forged a partnership for the ages.

The singles ‘Cedars’ and especially ‘Satellite’, are beset with crushing Lindsey Buckingham-esque solos. He has begun to introduce pop immediacy into the shoegaze on ‘Murmations’ and ‘Jonatan’ with nods to straight up rock heroes The Cult. Their archetypal indie-goth sound feels fresher than ever on ‘Black Net’ and, on Ocean Wave’, Hardy, along with the razor ship rhythm of Caz Helbert and Simon Drowner, conjures a post-punk disco stomp classic.

Sometimes, on third albums, there is a sense of all or nothing for bands. They chose all in. This is a post-punk ‘Rumours’. This is the rarest of tightropes walked, where cutting edge meets accessible pop music and is credible. If Fleetwood Mac signed off their careers with this album, the world would lose its shit at ‘Satellite’ being the new ‘Go Your Own Way’ or ‘Argonauts’ as the new ‘Songbird’.

Death of Guitar Pop – You’ll Be Fine Sunshine

It’s a great time to be a DIY outfit and Essex’s Death of Guitar Pop are no exception. Selling out gigs through word of mouth, dabbling in music management, modelling for Stone Beach’s clothing range, and by day, delivering exquisite Ska pop music.

Their latest offering, ‘You’ll Be Fine Sunshine’ is no exception. Much like the genius of Tommy Cooper, everything seems so simplistic and offers a broad appeal. Really though, something far more creative is at play.

Lyrically, their working class depiction of escaping to warmer climates is remarkable. Tales of “technicolour yawns down a back alley” and recovering with a Lucozade should be put on par with the work on Ray Davies, Damon Albarn and Suggs’ finest efforts.

Whilst we laud the bands efforts of making a living on the DIY scene, we want more. More from the people they so lovingly portray and entertain. The Specials were heralded in their heyday, 30 years on, their set to get another number one album. So, we urge you, join their side and raise them up to the same status, clearly they’re good enough.

*Image courtesy of Jeremy Walker

Scrounge - Crimson 

South East London duo Scrounge released ‘Etch’ with Fierce Panda last November. It was a raw piece of post-punk. The Goldsmiths alumni are at again on their latest single ‘Crimson’. 

Vocally, Lucy has found a sweet spot between Courtney Barnett and Kim Gordon. It serves this tale of distorted reality well. Backed by Luke’s violent Stephen Malkmus drawl, Scrounge are well on their to the hearts of all post-punk fans.   

The DIY scene of South East London, often overlooked, is set to become undeniable with the prowess of Scrounge. 

*Image courtesy of Fierce Panda Records

Café Spice - Bn2 

Manchester trio Café Spice, fresh from their sold out show at Jimmy’s, have returned with their second single ‘Bn2’ 

No one forgets the first time Joni Mitchell speaks to them on a personal level. Café Spice have now hit that standard on this tale of friendship and heartbreak. So often, this subject breeds lyrical cliché. Here though, they’ve tapped into the aching emptiness words have in these scenarios. 

The ambition is striking, but it’s the execution that’s mind blowing. This is only their second single remember! Cast your eye over recent Green Man or End of the Road festivals, how many folk acts there have ever hit this level?  

With Glastonbury back this year, we urge Emily Eavis and the BBC to give them a huge break, clearly, they won’t disappoint. 

Cellar Doors - Cellar Doors

San Francisco trio Cellar Doors release their self-titled debut album via the Spiritual Pyjamas label on the 15th February. They've played limited shows in the UK but, on this showing, like Melbourne's DMA's, its set to become their spiritual home.

In the digital age, the concept of the killer opening track has dissipated some what. Cellar Doors have revoked this notion on 'City Girl'. Combining Krautrock and the aggression of Kasabian's debut album, they have delivered a truly death defying piece rock n roll. Young listeners will see this as their moment, their release from boredom. Older rock n rollers, inevitably will be closing their eyes and reminiscing of their first summer of discovery to this hazy anthem.

They say timing is everything and, as Sex Education grips the world on Netflix, Cellar Doors coming of age debut appears right on cue. The danger of 'City Girl' conjures up images of Mauve's middle finger salute and the Velvet Underground tones of 'Pale Blue' should have sound tracked the Otis and Eric's relationship.

'In A Dream' also has those teenage hallmarks of escape. The racing energy of the Roses on 'She Bangs The Drums' emerges alongside the motorik of Neu and the distorted bliss of Jesus and Mary Chain. For fans of Creation Records and the spirit Alan McGee, this is indeed a dream.

There are moments of sublime pop majesty. 'Prism' sees singer Sean Fitzpatrick deliver an angelic Paul Weller vocal circa 'English Rose' vocal amid an eruption of Kasabian's 'Reason Is Treason'. The sex and danger of Fitzpatrick's guitar playing on 'Sirens' should hopefully banish the banal dross of Arctic Monkeys for good and, on 'Frost', they have an anthem for the ages. Complete with Depeche Mode's darkness, Neu's motorik, and the lightness of early John Squire guitar playing, 'Frost' is a haunting psychedelic pop behemoth.

Is the music industry capable of being taken over by the sound of angry poetic young men anymore? We're about to find out.

Tim Burgess and The Anytime Minutes: 100 Club

For Independent Venue Week, The Charlatans front man embarked on a tour around the UK's iconic small venues. For his London date, he came to Oxford Street's 100 Club. As any Charlatan fan will attest, they've been on a roll since 2015's 'Modern Nature' album. So, to do anything live to top that was never on the cards, was it?

Backed by members of the brilliant Average Sex (signed to Tim's O Genesis label), something magical happened this past Wednesday. Especially when Laetitia, the singer from Average Sex entered the affray. Tim and Laetitia became the post-punk Marvin and Tammi and, as a result, created a party for the ages.

'Clutching Insignificance', usually a bewitching take on the archetype Charlatans sound, became a different beast. Vocally, Laetitia is a behemoth. Her fire and 60s soul enriched the song to spark dancing both on and off stage.

Anyone who didn't fall in love with their partner or a past love all over again on 'One Last Kiss' is dead inside. On record, its a crisp take on classic Phil Spector and Brian Wilson records and with Average Sex in tow, heightened the the icons sound.

Then, just when your thinking this party has nothing left to give, they dropped a cover version Culture Club's 'Time (Clock of the Heart). The happiness oozing from the stage had an almost desperation to it. It had to escape, it had to infect the lives of others. The bleakness of the society had to be washed away.

Charlatans guitarist Mark Collins popped in for a stripped back punk version of 'North Country Boy' before the party went out with a bang on Burgess' 2003 classic 'Oh My Corazon'. After this gig, the roll the Charlatans are on is going to have to pick up the pace to surpass this.

At the time of writing this review, the news has announced the tragic death of legendary comedian Jeremy Hardy. I would like to dedicate the happiness this gig and writing about this gig to Jeremy. He has given me so many great nights out and in on Radio 4. You'll be sorely missed.

Stanleys - The Martyr

Stanleys are a Wigan four piece consisting of Tom Concannon (Vocals), Jake Dorsman (Guitar), Harry Ivory (Bass), and Rob Hilton (Drums). They released their debut EP ‘The Sound of the Stanleys’ last year and have returned with new single ‘The Martyr’.

It’s the kind of free flowing escape from a home town that can only come youth. Vibrant and aimlessly meandering as it longs for something to drag them away from their surroundings. Lyrically, they've struck gold. This is a classic Western movie isolation and fear being diminished by a wandering hero.

It's the chorus which really lifts their lyrical prowess to the next level though:

“Beat and broken, made to work all day / dreams are forbidden, hopes are cast away as reachless”

The western imagery is given a distinct modern day British feel. Images of Clint Eastwood fade into the brave Wetherspoons staff protesting against the repugnant Timothy Randall Martin. Stick your poverty wages up your mullet you tosser!

'The Martyr' is what true outsiderdom sounds like, not millionaires preaching their salt of the earth. This single is heartfelt, riotous, and escapist. Music lacks the power of film to make prequels but, if it did, this would surely be the early years of Richard Hawley roving the streets of Sheffield.

Forget the right wing millionaires who preach outsiderdom, this is what it sounds like. Heartfelt, alone, longing to belong to something worth loving. Sadly, music cant make prequels like film. If it could, this would surely be Richard Hawley’s teenage years wandering the streets of Sheffield.

Lacuna Bloome: Nambucca, London

Brighton's Lacuna Bloome are the perfect example of why the UK needs This Feeling. At This Feeling's 'Big In 2019', they were brilliant in flashes but by no means the finished article.

For some, that won't compel gig goers to Lacuna Bloome's next outing. However, we urge you to be a part of this journey. Anyone who witnessed an early Emily Capell or Trampolene gig will attest to the notion of a long rewarding journey.

Their were moments on 'Alright' and latest single 'Find Your Way' that guitarist Sam Leaver founder the paisley spirit of John Squire. The little flourishes of Roger McGinn's psyche and the free flowing nature of the Primals debut album had the Nambucca's crowd loosening those shoulders.

The ambition displayed on the closing two tracks brought a warm glow to an audience desperate to have more heroes migrate to bigger venues. It also allowed the bands personalities to shine through. Front man Niall, a steely introverted frontman is countered by the showman Leaver on guitars. Much like their idols, they have one of the most fluid drummers in the game in Noah Haines and, in Molly Walker, the coolest bass player since Mani.

Everything is coming together for this band, we urge you to be there sooner rather than later!

*Image courtesy of Alice Sutton

Blood Red Shoes - Get Tragic

It's been five years since Brighton duo Blood Red Shoes released an album. A relaxing break? Time off to start families? Not this band. Ten years touring, only breaking to record, resulted in a bitter fall out. Laura Mary-Carter jetted off to the states to write pop songs for the likes of Rihanna, meanwhile, Steve Ansell went on a massive bender.

After reconciliation, they bonded over how laughable their lives became in the interim period. This forms bedrock of the lyrics on 'Get Tragic'. However, what they hadn't counted on, was the endless run of bad luck. Break ups, broken bones and evangelical villagers (yes, you are reading that correct) caused further delay. 'Get Tragic' is very much a tale of, what goes down, must go up again.

Carter's broken arm led her to play more keys and synths than ever before. Whilst many bands five albums in labour to a new sound, Blood Red Shoes organically moved towards theirs throng necessity.

On 'Nearer', the big riffs have been swapped for an offbeat solos and thudding synth hooks which create a Dubstep-esque sense of dread. In years gone by, Carter's vocals were synonymous with punk and post-punk. Now, there is a devilment permeating her delivery. Now we understand how Luther feels when Alice turns up!

This new approach has given them more grooves than ever before too. 'Beverley' is a dark and twisted take on Blondie. On 'Howl', the albums stand-out, everything has been thrown into the mix. Carter's vocal is comfortably the best hook of her career. Meanwhile, the melodic sexiness of Goldfrapp unfurls into a distorted glam rock fury. It's furious crescendo is a glorious sonic scream into the abyss.

For any old school fans, the old riotous instincts still prevail. 'Mexican Dress' and 'Anxiety' have the hallmarks of 'It's Getting Boring By Sea' and 'I Wish I Was Someone Better'. The aggression remains on 'Mexican Dress', an almost BRMC dirty rock n roll affair. The filthy display of riffs and synths conjures a tension and isolation that is not for the fragile of mind.

It may have been a personally tumultuous time for the band but, boy has it paid off. So many bands this far into their careers alienate their base when they start taking risks. Blood Red Shoes have produced the blueprint on how to do it.

*Image Courtesy of Sonic PR

Sad Boys Club: Nambucca, London

Eighteen months ago, en route to see Sisteray in Camden, The Blinders emerged, covered in face paint and blew our world apart. This past Saturday, North London's Nambucca beckoned us to see the jangle psyche of the Lacuna Bloome. Enter stage right, Sad Boys Club.

It's notable how much of gang Sad Boys Club look. The singer a pop icon, the bass player inevitably throwing shapes and the rest looking great but, more importantly, have a steely look of defiance. Cross one of them and you will regret it!

The pop hooks across this set, are so good that, in a parallel universe, Madonna is stabbing her record label execs for not securing these songs for her! New single 'Silverlined', indebted to The Cure, is sure to soundtrack the new romantic story lines of Stranger Things and Glow. On 'American Spirit', they echo former Fierce Panda Label greats The Crookes as they turn emotion amps up to eleven.

So, when the inevitable lazy journalists of the broadsheets announce “there's no more guitar bands” or wail about how “pop used to matter”, throw Sad Boys Club in their face. Thoughtful, credible pop music didn't begin with The Smiths and die in the mid-nineties. It lives and breathes in great risk taking bands like Sad Boys Club.

*Image courtesy of Jon Mo Photography / TW: @jonmophoto /

GETRZ: Nambucca, London

Swindon's Getrz kicked off This Feeling's epic 'Big In 2019' in Nambucca in style. Clearly inspired by 2018's conquering The Blinders, Getrz are intent ramping up the intensity this year.

We all crave iconic front men and women but, Getzr lack of ego was striking. In a set packed with punk rock anthems, they adopt the spirit of Primal Scream in order to deliver the best song. Whether its the more emotive 'Diazefam' or the destruction of 'P.S.A', Getrz come one and come strong.

This was a solid punk set, it's one you'd go see again. However, on 'What He Said', it became a set you'd yearn to see again. The punk became more grandiose and the devilish wobble on the guitars was sublime.

Be sure to check them out on their February tour:

*Image courtesy of Jon Mo Photography

Red Rum Club - Matador

The Liverpool six piece released their debut album 'Matador' on the impeccable Modern Sky label (The Blinders & Calva Louise) earlier this month.

It's a real album of two halves. The free flowing euphoria of the first half screams single after single before, sadly petering out. Nevertheless, their peers will have to go far to match the anthem heavy first 6 songs.

'Angeline' is a tour de force of their home city Liverpool. Vocally, front man Fran Doran has channelled The Zutons' Dave McCabe whilst the guitarists have found their inner Will Sergeant. The most striking aspect comes from the Midlands though. The Dexys inspired soul is hear warmingly rousing.

The use of brass is key to the albums success and failures. It adds richness to 'Would You Rather Be Lonely?' and 'TV Said So', giving the true stand-out moments. The former, takes the crisp soul of The Style Council and the playful side of The Coral's early work on this tale of battling of loneliness. It's a song, so empathetic in nature, it could only come from the good people of their great city. 'TV Said So', continues on a similar vein James Skelly-esque vocals and the sumptuous guitar licks and wobbles.

However, in the latter stages, the brass becomes overpowering and disjointed on the Latin and Mexican grooves of 'Calexico' and 'Casanova'. The every-man soul and pop prowess disintegrates but, you cannot deny that, Red Rum Club are shackle free and willing to take chances.

Ultimately, 'Matador's cons are so few they pale into significance. This album is so well stocked in bangers that, it has potential of a two year run on the album charts.

Daniel Land - The Dream Of The Red Sails

Dreampop connoisseur Daniel Land has returned with his fourth album ‘The Dream Of The Red Sails’ via Hinney Beast Records.

With the focus of bygone relationships at its core, this album has the potential to be all things to all people. The multiple post-summer reflections will cart any romantic football fan back to the world cup and Gareth Southgate giving England its football soul back to the fans.

The power of Land’s imagery and music goes way beyond the summer of waistcoat love though. Recording began back in 2016, the year of Trump, Brexit, the endless loss of icons and, for Land, a cancer scare.

'Self-Portrait in Autumn Colours' deals directly with the life altering moment of the scare. The torment of not knowing the results and the romance of his partner standing by him is a remarkable feat song writing. Thankfully, Land received the all clear and, with that, delivered the lyrical heartbeat of the album “I’m not dying / I’m just another year older”. The peculiar banality provides a honesty of the situation that thankfully, most will never comprehend.

When key life moments come your way, so often comes a period of taking stock. The reflective beauty of 'Summer Song' will transport everyone back to their coming of age summer. The first love, the first gig, the endless nights out with friends, the first spliff, the first pill, the first holiday, the first love drifting away.

In the clutches of Brexit failure, medieval walls and wheels, the courageousness to produce songs this romantic is admirable. Bands like IDLES and The Blinders are rightly spitting venomous polemic but, being his late 30s, Land has brought a wisdom and wistful take on how to cope with mire.

'Long Before The Weather', sounding like Sigor Ros in English, enhances hope in these dark times with a progressive clarity:

“your history doesn't bind”

Strummer-esque slogans are a rare breed in the dreampop genre. This powerful message is delivered with a gentle arm round the shoulder but with no less polemical intent

The older one gets, the harder it becomes to believe in anything, let alone heroes. Daniel Land is a hero. To write an album amid political bile and personal turmoil is an achievement in itself. To trawl through your own personal history and relationships and not be filled regret is something us mere mortals can only dream of.

The binary disposition of Brexit positions is so prevalent it’s hard to ever find an answer for anything. 'The Dream of Red Sails' is the third way. It is the leadership we so desperately need.

*Image Courtesy of Jade Nott:

Come At The King - Minesweep

London three piece Come At The King enter the affray like Tabasco heavy Bloody Mary. If anyone has any Christmas cobwebs left, their new single ‘Minesweep’ will blow them away.

It’s a furious combination of dirty BRMC riffs and the devilish blues of the 22/20s. When they hit the release valve on the solo, the fluidity of Black Keys and effortlessness of early Oasis comes to the fore.  

Come At The King have arrived in style!

The Love-Birds – In the Lovers Corner

No sooner you post your top 20 albums of the year, a tip comes your way and your left screaming “The Love-Birds” like Dr Johnson screams “sausage” in Blackadder the Third.

The four piece from San Francisco released their debut album 'In The Lovers Corner' via Trouble In My Mind records last May. As us Brits brace for winter, The Love-Birds recipe of 60s California and the 90s US underground circuit will warm both hearts and minds.

Embracing their love of Teenage Fanclub, they hired Norman Blake to master the album and, on ‘Weak Riff’ and Gerrit’, duly pay homage. ‘Weak Riff’ has the hallmarks of a Creation Records single with its hazy take on pop music. Meanwhile, ‘Gerrit’ harnesses the Fanclub’s fuzzy-grunge take of The Byrds and big emotive guitar breaks to conjure, perhaps the albums true moment of stardust.

Jangle pop reigns supreme throughout, in fact, it’s hard not to imagine the album sound tracking Friday Night Lights Matt Saracen throwing a winning pass to Tim Riggins. There are fleeting moments where they splice in other influences. ‘Hit My Head’ has a touch of Grandaddy’s eccentric production, ‘Failure and Disgrace’ is a lost Decemberists classic and on ‘Clean The Air’, singer Thomas Rubenstein manages to blend Gene Clark and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst.

The Love-Birds have delivered a superb introduction to themselves on this influenced led debut. Now it’s time for them to flee the nest and test themselves. Can they sail unchartered waters and find a new route?

*Image courtesy of Ava Rose and Trouble In Mind Records

Desperate Journalist - Satellite

Desperate Journalism return with their second single ‘Satellite’ from their upcoming third album 'In Search Of The Miraculous'. The London outfit, signed to the legendary Fierce Panda are, to date, one of the UK’s best kept secrets.

It is however, hard to imagine that secret lasting much longer. ‘Satellite’ is a vast expansive piece of rock n roll that simply has to dominate the airwaves.

There is a real sense of all or nothing oozing from its soul. Guitarist Rob Hardy, is so often the vehicle to shine a light on the glorious vocals of Jo Bevan. Not anymore. They’ve become duo bouncing of each other a la Pete & Karl or Brown & Squire.

The riffs alone are a joyous piece of escapism but, the solo is a destructive force that will leave souls cleansed and former detractors reeling from their mistakes.

They recently sold out London’s Oslo, on this form, Brixton beckons.

*Image courtesy of Fierce Panda Records

Grasshopper - Stricken EP

Grasshopper, a Brighton/Manchester four piece are made in the image of national treasures Joy Division, The Fall and Bauhaus.

Their new EP 'Stricken', was released at the end of November and has been gaining well deserved attention. At a glance, the desolation is striking, but, as their introspection washes over you, a bond forms, an intimate sense of us vs the world.

With the huge of success of Editors in the last decade, Javi Fedrick's vocal will inevitably draw parallels to Editors’ Tom Smith. However, EP opener ‘Grin’, with its long a Capella section, gives Fedrick a chance to clearly define himself so that, when the crisp jingle jangle guitars collide with his brutality, a new world has truly opened up.

'The Hand On The Knife’ and 'I Think It's Time To Wake Up Now' both contain the razor sharp rhythm of Bauhaus and the emotive power of The Chameleons’ Mark Burgess. It allows the merest chinks of light to creep into lyrics such as “the ceiling screams: you won’t get through today” and “I see you shaking, fury making”.

This kind of rebellion and dystopian landscape creation, opened up by Cabbage and The Blinders in 2018, couldn’t feel more appropriate at the beginning of 2019. The bleak grey skies of Brexit loom over us all like some giant morose dog turd, this is the aggressive despondent release needed.

*Image courtesy of Jim Federick

You can buy the EP here: