Review by Sarah Williams.
The observant among you will have noticed that I’m quite pally with the Umlaut Records guys (if you’ve not listened the Shout Louder podcast I do with Mark Bell yet I politely recommend you sort your life out), so I’m aware that I may be slightly biased in favour of their releases. That said, I wasn’t expecting them to flood my inbox with so many great EPs this month. We’ve already spoken about Triple Sundae and we’ve got a lot of time for EAT DIRT. Later in May they’re also releasing a great EP from Dynamite Dynamite.
One of the great new band showcase EPs they’ve brought out is from London’s Our Lives In Cinema who, like Triple Sundae, are growing into a much more accomplished act. I enjoyed their first three-track EP, but this is so far advanced from that I almost can’t believe it’s the same band. The biggest improvements come in the confidence of Mark Bartlett’s vocals, much clearer and more decisive on this record, paired with lyrics that have a great deal of singalong potential. Their overall songwriting and composition has improved, as has the tone and quality of the guitars, which are hitting faster, snappier skate-punk levels on this record.
The opening to It’s Always Sunny In Paterson Park is fast and fun, drawing you straight into the record. Mark’s trying to squeeze as many words as possible into each bar, which gives opening line of the chorus (“So this is thirty five…”) enough open, punchy emphasis to make it a huge singalong couplet. The whole song features some sweet harmonies and memorable riffs, developing into a big shoutalong section at the end.
The second track Talk You Up introduces a heavier vibe, showcasing each of the instruments in short snappy sections throughout the song. You can definitely hear a greater diversity of influences here, particularly in the faster guitars – it’s an angrier punk rock tune, although they’ve maintained the recognisable chorus. Mark’s harder vocal style really work for his voice, making it easily my favourite song on the EP. This is the most complete and most complicated song on the record – a lot of hard work has gone into this.
The introduction to Every Year Is A Mountain is a great little blast of catchy skate-punk, while the vocal take more and emo slant. The most appealing element is a little melodic guitar break halfways through, before the song builds to an anthem. It sounds like the band are trying hard to cram a lot into three songs – a lot of lyrics, a lot of choruses and a lot of genres. There are enough ideas on this EP to fill a whole album and it would be great to hear them spread out over ten solid tracks rather than crammed into this short blast. Thematically, this song talks a lot about personal struggle and I feel they’ve done a great job of overcoming it on this record.
Our Lives In Cinema are a band that are still growing and learning their craft. This is a fantastic little EP that’s well worth a listen and it’s going to be fun watching them continue to grow.
If you’ve not already read it, take time to read Mark Bartlett’s excellent two-part piece ‘All Talk’. He wrote this for Shout Louder about the complexities of recording the EP while balancing a full-time job and a full-weight of anxiety.