The three-piece (Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Darrell Bazian, drummer Nick Marko and vocalist / bassist Samantha Easterbrook) initially came to light in 2016 with their debut EP “The Owl”, which was then swiftly followed up by the “Inexhaustible” EP just a year later. Fast forward to the present though, and the band aim to see-in 2019 in style, having released their debut full-length album on January 1st. Samantha sent me an email kindly requesting me to review it, so, let’s press play and together we shall all “Tour The Ruins”…
We open up with the track “Cars Crashing” and hopefully this doesn’t sum up our imminent listening experience…the deep, fuzzy riffs and coarse vocals, coupled with the up-tempo delivery and off-kilter breakdowns gives this an overall, punk-inspired post-rock feel. The dual male / female vocals providing additional depth and variety too and it’s a pretty decent start it has to be said. I wouldn’t go as far as a car crash though; this is at the very most just, clipping a wing mirror. “Wasps” is up next and here musically they’ve gone for a similar approach, with the energetic, up-tempo, angst ridden pop punk tone, though turning ever so slightly prog-based as the track meanders into a purely instrumental second half climax. It’s the punk aspects that truly comprise the albums meat and veg however, as it’s made up of multiple short, sharp doses opposed to more elaborately structured songs.
The raw vocal approach to “California’s Burning” allows it’s frustrations and sentiments to shine through the tinny guitar, despite the mostly repetitive lyrics. In many ways it reflects many of the victims of the devastating fires in 2018, like, what can you really say? Such was the magnitude of the blaze. While we’re on the topic, “Quick Burn Fire” offers the listener a truly infectious chorus hook, with Samantha taking over lead vocal duty, allowing for a lot more melody, with the guitars too sounding cleaner and clearer. Further album highlight “Gradients” turns the distortion up again and really gives us a riff-heavy barrage of thick guitars and muzzled vocals, in many ways harking back to early CKY, while “Pilot” has this, happy-go-lucky indie rock ‘n’ roll vibe, providing a fun, up-beat listen.
There are a couple of off moments over the course of the 14 tracks however…”Addax”; a sombre little instrumental primarily consisting of ambient guitars, fades into nothing without the slightest of points, and it’s named after a large North African antelope…making all of the sense. “Plasmodium” being another one…insect bacteria apparently, but sounds all soft and quaint…because nothing says beautiful like malaria right? The rest of the album just consists of the same, brief punk-based indie rock, and while musically enjoyable, nothing REALLY grabs your attention. The 30 minute play time doesn’t allow you to connect with the songs, resulting in no more than a collection of somewhat entertaining, albeit short, generic tracks. Float here forever? I can already do that with Pennywise thank you, and he has balloons too.