By Lifetime Skiver
EP-opener, 'Best Nightclub' is an indie-rock song that's boosted above the level of most self-released indie music, thanks to a handful of inspired hooks. Firstly, there's a passage of multi-layered vocals, which sees Lifetime Skiver alternate between breathy, quasi-falsetto and deep, resonating vocals. It isn't overly comical, but neither is it completely straight-faced, and it suggests Lifetime Skiver don't take themselves too seriously.
The second major hook comes in the form of off-kilter indie chords that ricochet off blasts of trumpet in an indie/ska-punk mash-up that'll simultaneously fix itself in your head - as the best awkward indie hooks have a habit of doing - and get you in the party spirit, as only ska-punk can.
Elsewhere, 'Best Nightclub' can't really match up to those two great hooks, with verses of sparse, but relatively hook-free, indie chords and drumbeats. However, 'Best Nightclub' has just enough standout moments to make for a memorable track.
The stylish plod of 'Sherbet' is another decent indie-rock song infused with natty hooks; this time it's through a very restrained and ingenious use of synths. Springy electro saws across the steadily-rocking verses, and sparkling synths encrust the choruses, giving 'Sherbet' a twinkling electronica veneer. Without this, 'Sherbet' would be in danger of sounding trudging and joyless but, as it stands, the synths make the mind-numbingly repetitive beat hypnotising.
'Sherbet' picks up the pace for a bridge section that alternates between tinny acoustic guitar and waves of buzzy riffs. This injects some extra life into the song, without ruining that laidback, synth-encrusted prettiness that 'Sherbet' does so well.
'Take My Mind' has a great underlying beat consisting of a short sequence of heavily-repeated drumbeats surrounded by twitchy, stop-start chords, and topped off with some odd, organ-esque synths that give 'Take My mind' a quirky charm.
As ever, outside of these great moments, 'Take My Mind' is pretty standard indie fair, with non-too-exciting lyrics; a decent, pop-infused chorus; and a lack of musical hooks beyond that catchy base beat. However, when the foundations are this good, Lifetime Skiver can just about get away with it.
'Sunrise/sunset' is a complete curveball, as Lifetime Skiver throw into the mix some twangy acoustic guitar, hoedown-loving harmonica, and a bright, tinny chime that picks out a distinctly Oriental-flavoured tune. All of these are strong, unusual hooks; the frequent breaks for those chimes are inspired; the occasional, harsh acoustic chord brings a likeably raw sound to this track; and even the harmonica, blaring away over the acoustic guitar, brings an element of fun to 'Sunrise/sunset.'
However, in other respects, this song fits the formula of this EP perfectly, as 'Sunrise/sunset' hits as many passable lows as it does highs, with vocals that are frequently drowned out, and a definite lack of lyrical hooks which means you won't be struck by the desire to sing along. Despite these shortcomings, 'Sunrise/sunset' is still the strongest and most distinctive song on this EP, and ends 'Nightclub' on a high.
Over the course of four tracks, Lifetime Skiver prove that, at their worst, they're pretty average, but they have a definite knack for crafting plenty of unusual hooks that prevents the songs from becoming passable, even if they do have passable moments. The overriding impression of 'Nightclub' is one of a mixed effort. There's plenty here that's been done before, and done better, but there's also flashes of innovative, hook-laden brilliance that, hopefully, Lifetime Skiver can build on, to produce songs that show them at their best, all of the time.