EP REVIEW: Brawlers – The Black EP
Leeds pop-punkers Brawlers’ latest release The Black EP is closely aligned with the band’s previous work – meaning that each song is just about what you’d expect. Polished, energetic guitar riffs and snapping vocals cover limited subjects such as girls, booze and feeling lost. Although, even if you think these themes are paths that have been too well-worn, you’ll probably still enjoy these songs. Such is the band’s energy and performance, every track can easily be imagined live. This is fine, but we end up wondering if we’ve wasted our time just listening to the recordings: each lyric is obviously offering itself up as a fist pump moment. Of course, it’s a good thing that a band’s EP makes you feel like you need to go and see them in the flesh right now, but this leaves the songs themselves feeling a little airless and dry. They should have enough merit on their own.
The first two songs Day Job and Growing Up are exactly what you think they are; cliché song titles and all. Growing Up is more upbeat and fun than eye roll-inducing, and who doesn’t like a chorus that consists solely of singer Harry Johns yelling “I’m drunk, I’m fucking poor”? Not us! This insight is quickly followed by the refrain “fuck growing up!” Then there’s some “woahs” before the song abruptly ends. Not too shabby.
As if abashed by Growing Up and Day Job’s simplicity, Shake Me Into Shape is more interesting lyrically. There are some cool visuals in the words “breaking into swimming pools, we can do anything.” However, the chorus is once again just the song titled repeated a bunch of times. In playing this EP, have we accidentally opened up a portal to 2003? The guitar solo is simplistic, but coupled with the thudding drums, is really enjoyable and succeeds in putting the song back into our good books.
As if reading our mind, Do You Believe Me Now seems to be even more of a throwback to the “glory days” of early 2000s pop punk. The lyric “we haven’t been sober since 2004” sets the tone of the track as a nostalgic, drunken love song. Closing the EP is Better Looking. The guitar riffs are so shiny you can practically see your face in them, and reminds us of the pristine Enema of the State-era production. Like all of the songs on this EP, biting verses swell to a climactic chorus. It seems like Brawlers have really found their niche and are sticking to it. The only problem is that this can get a little too predictable. Brawlers have always been the kind of band that does what it says on the tin. Punk music may be oversaturated with songs about getting wasted and waiting for girls to text you back, but at least Brawlers do this exact thing rather well.
Standout Track: Day Job
For Fans Of: Gnarwolves, Yellowcard, Sad Blood
Written by: Kathryn Woods