Written by Sarah Williams.
There’s a true beauty in a short, snappy EP. Whether is a new band looking for a cost-effective way to showcase their talents and learn how to record, or a more established act wanting to immortalise some of their current material, EPs are often better than full albums.
To me a full album is an experience. The longer playing time allows the music to breathe and have highs and lows. Conversely, the short, sweet EP is typically a relevant blast of the band’s most recent material: a audio snapshot of this moment in their career, with no room for filler, fuss or faff.
Speaking to Lasse from Forever Unclean recently, I asked him whether they were considering doing an album. “We prefer doing EPs,” he said, if I remember correctly (I was drunk, so let’s paraphrase). “That way we can put out music that we currently enjoy playing, without having to wait for a full album’s worth of material.”
The albums released in 2018 were probably written and recorded long before. With that in mind, the shorter, more manageable EPs offer a more current insight into the musical landscape. That’s why, to me, some of this year’s most memorable releases are the short ones.
#5: Layman’s Terms – An Invite To The End
Bristol shredders Layman’s Terms produced an absolutely superb 6-track effort early in 2018. An Invite To The End opens with some heavy guitar-work that quickly develops into urgent, frantic fast-punk. Like Fair Do’s, they’ve taken a lot of elements of double-time classic skate-punk and blended some of the heavier elements of metal. It works. Really well.
The whole EP keeps you on the edge of your seat with some adrenaline-loaded riffs and momentary heavy breakdowns. It’s unrelenting, ferocious and suggests there will be some great things from the band in future. I cannot wait to shout along to this live.
If you want to hear melodic hardcore done right, listen to Cut The Line and Letters To The Dead. Layman’s Terms have nailed this.
#4: Captain Trips – Stand By
I was expecting good things from Captain Trips, but I was completely floored when I heard their EP Stand By. In this case, I’d say it’s a shame it’s not a full album.
Stand By captures all of what makes Captain Trips great: tight, uptempo drums, snappy basslines, brilliant harmonies and guitars that trip the line between classic skate-punk and rock. Opening with their flawless single Bottom Of The River they then turn it up a notch with Dead Ringers and Chances.
Anyone who’s seen Captain Trips live will be familiar with their suprisingly complex skate-punk cover of The Voice, which they’ve immortalised here. It’s a sign of the hard work and thought that’s gone into the composition of the whole EP – it’s not just a scrappy cover, they’ve made it their own. It finally rounds off on Siren Song, with some Darko or Fair Do’s-esque fret-moves and galvanising political lyrics.
#3: Triple Sundae – Peace of Mind
London’s Triple Sundae released Peace of Mind on Umlaut Records early in 2018. It was an instant love-affair for me, but it’s stayed strong, consistent and a playlist favourite right through to the end of the year.
Peace of Mind also marked a real development in Triple Sundae’s style. They have a Menzingers-ish edge and a talent for melodic composition, which they’ve used to craft three perfect punk rock bangers. That said, there’s enough variety in the three tracks to demonstrate some diversity and give a tantalising view of what Triple Sundae may be capable of on a full-length release.
As I said earlier in the year, “I’m about ready to marry this EP and grow old together, doing crosswords on a porch with it.” Indecisive is a strong opener and an irresistable ear worm and Soul Control shows a pleasant change of direction, however it’s the closing track Fabricated that still invades my head on a regular basis. These are three excellent tracks that leave me buzzing to see what the band get up to in 2019.
#2 Goodbye Blue Monday – Misery-Punk Ruined My Life
My only complaint about Goodbye Blue Monday is that I didn’t find out about them earlier. Although they released Misery-Punk this year, I only discovered their previous EP The Sickness, The Shame (released in 2017) in March. I popped it on my car stereo and, within 30 seconds I was completely hooked – I didn’t take it off repeat for a few weeks. Misery-Punk is no different, and it’s grown on me significantly over the last few months.
They sing catchy Off With Their Heads-esque, upbeat pop punk with a distinct Scottish twang. Lyrically, they talk a lot about depression and bipolar disorder, expertly using harmonies to highlight some tricky, memorable phrases. The EP begins with the title track, on the subject of their ‘misery-punk’ moniker becoming a gimmick (when its also a reality), before my personal favourite Worst In The Mornings. They’ve captured an all-too-familiar feeling of having to face a day when you’ve had a rough night (or a rough life); “Woke up to face the nightmare of a brightening sky.” It rounds off on Love Is A Noose For Two – a reflection on the pointlessness of marriage that resonates with many of my personal opinions.
#1: Forever Unclean – Woof
Danish indie/skate/pop-punks are consistently brilliant in everything they record and Woof serves to confirm that notion. It contains five upbeat, shouty tunes with oodles of singalong refrains and danceable bass lines.
This trio have reached a brilliant peak of punk perfection in this small-but-perfectly-formed release. They have captured the frivolity of their live shows in every bar; this EP is an enjoyable and fun listen. From the little riffage on Words to the shouted chorus of Woof, there’s an urgency in this EP that makes for a positive, encouraging listen. Want a pick-me-up to begin your day? Woof is a great place to start.
Forever Unclean have nailed everything that punk rock should be on this year’s EP, and I can’t wait to hear their next, exciting effort.
What were your favourite EPs this year?
While you’re here, check out our other 2018 Round Up Articles:
- Top 5 Punk Rock Festivals of 2018
- Top 10 Live Bands That Blew Us Away In 2018
- Top 10 Punk Rock Albums of 2018
Written by Sarah Williams.