Release date: 11th June
If you’d stopped pretending to be busy or just fancied a break from your punishing revision schedule that leaves you exhausted and irritated because your life revolves around that now – it doesn’t, get off it – then maybe you stumbled upon my review of Slam Dunk Wales. If you did, you’ll remember that I wasn’t too fussed on The Audition’s appearance there and was kinda disappointed because I was hoping for them to impress me. You see, they’re a band who I’ve always tried to like, a band who have always seemed to be a popular one with a few people I’ve spoken to about so I thought that maybe it was just me – me being self-righteous and self-contained; my brain not willing to appreciate the band even though my synapses were jangling and grooving.
But, no. I tried to squeeze myself into the pigeonhole but I got stuck and my legs were kicking and my ankles were turning blue. I just didn’t like the band. I didn’t like how cheerful they sounded, I didn’t like how they were tagged as the ‘pop-rock party-starters’ when they’d actually end my party if anyone played them, I didn’t like how they seemed to holding back, suffocating themselves with every release.
That is, until now. All I’m going to say is that their departure from Victory Records has given the band a new intent, like those weird stories you hear about when people have been buried alive in coffins but somehow still manage to survive, the band have come out of their quiet hiatus since 2010 with a much more fresh outlook on life and show us a new driven sound; gone is the stagnant, boring rhythms and the younger-audience-targeted lyrics – they now have a sound that signals new beginnings for the band and one that they should have whipped out a long time ago. You never know, a few years back, if they’d had this sound, they might have earned some money from me buying one of their T-shirts. But that’s a Slam Dunk story…
The EP starts with Who Do You Think You Are – the riff is staccato, stop-starting and swirling until it hits the chorus and it just rolls out a wave of glorious strummed-notes. The lyrics of who do you think you are, in the chorus, are catchy and hold a sense of meaning that all of us will understand – we all know that one person who holds a higher sense of themselves than they should and we all know how annoying said person is. The drums are impressive throughout; robust and adding a rhythm to the track that makes it really hard not to move to. This track is the first sign that The Audition are now a more meaningful band, rather than a band who were happy to come up with tracks that made people feel good for a few minutes, this whole EP makes you feel good.
A personal favourite – EVIL – is the third track. The gentle, yet demanding guitar riff accompanied with the lyrics of E.V.I.L / Going straight to hell and the softly simmering drums that just about keep their heat under wraps makes this perhaps the most impressive track here. The listener’s allowed to enjoy themselves but because of the relatively drawn-out, laid-back pace of the track you also know there’s a darker side to it. The track that will make previous haters of the band turn their lugholes up.
Talkin’, the final track, is full of swagger and the enjoyment that the band had when writing this track, shines through. The lyrics of somebody save my soul / give me a bit of rock n roll stay in your head when the EP’s over and when you’re out walking the dog or on your way to work, the words will pop into your head like the remnants of last night’s embarrassing drinking episode/s. However, there’s nothing to cringe about with this track and it fortifies this EP as a release The Audition can be really proud of. They’ve vanquished one hater here, hopefully others will follow.
Chapter II is a better start than chapter 1 and it’s just a pity you can’t wipe away the band’s previous material because this EP would definitely have made the band a heavyweight one in the pop-rock genre, rather than a light-middleweight. One question I have left, though, is: why are the band so useless live?