By Chase This City
Just a year after forming, Lancaster-based Chase This City release six-track mini album 'Show Us What You Got?' flaunting a talent for penning towering, pop-punk choruses, that's impressive to say they've been together a short time.
Mini-album opener 'Loves Overrated' follows firmly in the footsteps of fellow UK pop-punkers You Me At Six. Hooky vocals, buoyant drumbeats and unashamedly big, brash riffs ensures 'Loves Overrated' goes down easy on the very first listen. Thankfully, this isn't the whole story, as the lyrics weave a darker thread through the song which just might win them a corner of the lucrative, angsty-adolescent market.
Encouragingly, 'Loves Overrated' veers away from the usual, safe-as-houses pop-punk clatter, with a surprisingly technical guitar solo and a smattering of screamo vocals. 'Loves Overrated' nails that fizzy, You Me At Six/ Attack! Attack! sound, whilst throwing a few intriguing curveballs into the mix.
Chase This City continue their mission to be seen as more than just another bunch of youthful, pop-punk upstarts, with second track 'Kick In The Teeth.' Opening with military drum rolls and reverberating riffs, 'Kick In The Teeth' is a bigger, heavier beast than your standard pop-punk fair. Although, there's still a healthy dose of mammoth riffs and twitchy, sing along vocals when it comes to the chorus. It's not quite New Found Glory, and the higher-pitched backing vocals do sound a little strained, but the chorus is instantly enjoyable and it's possible to start singing along, before you've even heard 'Kick In The Teeth' the whole way through - and what more could you want when it comes to this genre?
'Start Over' is 'Show Us What You Got?' at its most punk. Bumping along on short, jerking riffs, it has a shambolic energy that's reminiscent of the rougher end of the pop-punk spectrum. But the chorus is as big and brash as ever, with crashing riffs forming the backdrop to a squiggly, dizzying guitar line. 'Start Over' sets out to keep everyone happy, with galloping, punkish verses, and stadium-sized, sing along choruses.
'Down & Out' boasts the EP's most hook-packed chorus, with vocals and lyrics that err on the poppier side of things, and which you simply won't be able to get out of your head. Even better, the pre-chorus build-up is all jigging guitars and drumbeats that are guaranteed to have rooms full of people bouncing merrily along when this is played live. 'Down & Out' is a perfect example of how exhilarating guitars played at double quick speed can actually be.
'Where We Started' is the weakest song on this EP, mostly because the chorus, that most fearsome of weapons in the pop-punk arsenal, lacks that clean, catchy thrust. The vocals are set too low in the mix, and the random inclusion of gang and backing vocals further muddies the waters. Consequently, it's difficult to latch onto a melody. The verses of clearer vocals and darting guitars, are actually far more hook-packed than the chorus.
This mini album comes to a close with 'What's Good For Me,' which can't help but leave a positive impression on the listener. It does see Chase This City eschew most of their pop leanings, as crunching riffs underpin the choruses' soaring vocals, and ominous guitars flutter away in the background during the verses. But, it's refreshing for a modern punk band not to rely solely on poppy choruses and aggressively bouncing drumbeats, to get the job done.
Chase This City aren't bringing anything new to the scene, but just because it's been done before, doesn't mean there isn't room for a band pedalling exactly the same sort of catchy, hook-packed pop-punk - if said band do it well. And Chase This City do. One for fans of the You Me At Six / Attack! Attack! / Boys Like Girls brand of pop-punk.