Thursday, 22 September 2011

Boy Set Sail - We're Almost There EP Review

Do you remember my introduction of Boy Set Sail with their EP sampler recently? Well the EP, entitled We're Almost There, is now available and I've had a little listen myself. Check out my review below and be sure to get yourself a copy to help support our struggling young music scene.

Track 1/Rewind/ A strong and anthemic start to the CD highlights a cool-sounding pop song with fantastic lead vocals and a great song-writing abilitiy. Backing vocals help to support the main vocals throughout as the lead guitar dabbles in cheeky lead-lines here and there adding a little more colour to the track. It's quite a short song coming in at just 2.30 mins but packs a strong and determined punch nonetheless.

Track 2/Believe/ Starts in a similar way to its predecessor with chugging, palm-muted guitar and introspective vocals before the rest of the band enter. The chorus is strong, once again led by the vocals and there's a lot of energy in the track but I'm not sure the production does the overall CD justice. The drums in particular sound a little deflated and the whole EP could perhaps do with some more brightness and texture to help it really jump out. This, of course, isn't to take away from the song-writing and arrangements; although Believe is even shorter than Rewind, all the tracks demonstrate a great interest and awareness of the genre and the band demonstrate this well with really tight performances.

Track 3/You Are/ A mix of double and half-time rhythms introduce the mid-way part of the EP with a more interesting track. There are some unexpected chord progressions which are welcomed and some progressive work as the track builds, introducing new guitar ideas in the second verse and a fluent breakdown section. The final chorus kicks in really well with loads of energy from the drums, again playing with the rhythms, before settling for a relentless double-time feel as the lead vocals step further into the limelight with some strong final notes.

Track 4/All These Things/ A confident start and some more cool-sounding chord progressions. The verses rock but the chorus is a little weak in comparison and doesn't stand out on its own as much as others on the EP have done so. This might be because the vocals lead the chorus sticking too close to the home key as in the verses and don't break up into the next octave until the end of the second line; the chorus needs to pack a punch all of it's own and not amble so politely in from the verse. It's a safe track; by all means sounds good and fits in perfectly with the rest of the EP but it's no highlight for me.

Track 5/ This Time Around/ Track 5 marks the end of the journey with Boy Set Sail and safely remains well within the pop-punk bordera showcasing strong lead vocals, supportive backing, frantic bursts of drum fills and confident lead-guitar lines. I'm glad the vocals remain with an unashamed English accent and haven't adopted a bad American twang; there's nothing worse with UK pop-punk than when bands feel the need to completely emulate our cousins across the pond in every which way. The breakdown here sounds cool, bravely sticking with just vocals and guitar for quite a length of time but it pays dividends when the rest of the band are re-introduced. The song, especially the ending, definitely has a finalising quality to it that rounds off the EP well. The band have definitely honed their sound and I'm sure are even better live, matched on a like-with-like bill and with a bit more volume and brightness behind them. They're brilliant at what they do but I'm not sure the sound of the EP in general has enough for them to stand out in a very crowded sea of pop-punk enthusiasts. The ideas and musicality are great and I wish the boys every success but I'm worried that the sound is a little too familiar in terms of what a pop-punk audience might expect and sometimes you've got to step outside the box to ensure your voice is heard.

You can purchase your copy of the EP from iTunes or from the label's website where you can keep up to date with the band.

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Thanks for taking the time to write :)