By Full Scream Ahead
'We Write Our Own Anthems' does pretty much what it says on the tin, delivering six tracks of anthemic choruses and soaring vocals, with brief flirtations with screamo and punk to keep things interesting.
The first thing you'll notice about Full Scream Ahead, is how unusual frontman Justin Percival's voice is. His semi-spoken, semi-yelped, quivery-edged vocals will be something you'll either love or hate, but whatever your reaction, it's refreshing for anthem-aspiring rock to be sung by something other than a smooth, pop-music voiced frontman. That ever-present tremor also means that Justin sounds permanently racked by emotion. On EP-opener 'To Be With You' he sounds genuinely tormented, and it's easy to believe he means every word he's singing. When Justin isn't apparently wrenching out emotionally-charged lyrics, 'To Be With You' opens up into euphoric, multi-layered vocals and headrush guitars, in a chorus that sounds absolutely huge. A very strong start to the EP.
Full Scream Ahead turn out an equally mammoth chorus, with lashings of stadium-bothering vocals, on 'As Good As It Gets.' For a band who've only been together since 2008, Full Scream Ahead 's talent for the life-affirming chorus, is particularly impressive. They use the jerking chords and drum flourishes that are the staples of the pop-punk genre, to ensure the adrenaline keeps flowing even between choruses.
Both 'Hearts Still Beating' and 'Rio' favour a funkier, more stripped-down sound than the rest of this EP, which isn't half as exhilarating as when Full Scream Ahead put the pedal to the metal and layer on the riffs. 'Hearts Still Beating' is all too-slick drumbeats fleshed out with a meagre handful of shivering guitar lines, while 'Rio' is even more barebones, with just a few poised chords flickering through the verses. Thankfully, both songs do bring in the rushing guitars, foot-stamping drums and big vocals when it comes to the choruses, and you'll duly get swept away in the racket - it's just a shame all the bits inbetween couldn't be this good.
While the anthemic-chorus-and-more-sedate-verse is a formula that serves Full Scream Ahead well when it comes to 'To Be With You' and 'As Good As It Gets,' they wisely shake up the formula before it begins to get stale, with the rasping 'Play With The Light.' A snarling undercurrent of bristling riffs runs throughout the song, topped off with a scattering of smashed-up, shrapnel riffing. Speeding drums and tongue-tying vocals up the tempo, making this a shot of headlong punk rock, with a nasty underbelly. Full Scream Ahead even break out the throat-shredding, screamo vocals towards the end of 'Play With The Light,' in a very welcome deviation from what was threatening to become a tired old formula.
EP-closer 'Stealing of a Nation' gets off to a shaky start, as the stripped-down opening, coupled with some of 'We Write Our Own Anthem's cheesiest lyrics, might just have you curling your toes. However, give 'Stealing of a Nation' a chance, and it builds to a stamping, drum-led anthem with a typically massive chorus, in tried-and-tested Full Scream Ahead fashion.
'We Write Our Own Anthems' is an impressive debut, and most importantly it puts forward a formula that works for Full Scream Ahead. While an entire album of this sort of biding-their-time verses and full-on choruses might begin to seem a little predictable, on this EP it doesn't get the chance to, and there's more than enough punk and screamo flourishes, to suggest Full Scream Ahead will continue to push themselves, and not get stuck in a rut.