By Leagues Apart
'To Anywhere' by Salford-based Leagues Apart is seven tracks of straightforward, clattering DIY punk-rock, where each song has something subtly different to offer.
Like all the best bands, you'll either love Leagues Apart or hate them, primarily because of frontman Andi Wilson, who frequently sounds like he's ripping every word from some dark, wet, slobbery place. Imagine the harshness and nastiness of your atypical hardcore vocal, but congealed with all the snot and phlegm of the punk-rock vocal. This is exactly how Wilson sounds throughout the entirety of mini album-opener 'Davey and the Slick Cigarettes.' This song takes the clattering, bristling, DIY punk-rock blueprint, and drives lines of clear, classy, hard-rock riffing through said unholy racket. This clean, decisive thrust actually has 'Davey and the Slick Cigarettes' galloping along at an even more unrelenting pace. A song with a need for speed, and a uniquely classy after-taste.
Another trick Leagues Apart have up their sleeves, is the drunken, sing-along chorus, where the band members all roar along in tuneless unison. This is what makes the jet-propelled 'More Potatoes, Uncle Tusky?' such a fun song. Guaranteed to have you lifting your pint aloft and singing along. Cram-packed with jittery chords, the shaking, slobbering 'Kieran Looks Like Rob Brydon,' follows suit, with a chorus of beer-soaked vocal revelling. It can't quite match 'More Potatoes, Uncle Tusky?' when it comes to plastering a big, silly grin across your face - but it comes in a respectable second.
But, Leagues Apart aren't out of ideas yet. 'Ivan Splits in Half,' and 'Garbage Day!' all have a bounciness that's usually found in pop-punk, and rarely in punk-rock. 'Garbage Day!' is the most successful of the two songs. The drums, guitars, main and backing vocals, all seem desperate to out race one another. A riotous scramble of discordant noise, underpinned by pogo-ing drums; this song revels in its own chaos, and its enthusiasm is infectious. Meanwhile, 'Ivan Splits in Half' is, for all intents and purposes, a pop-punk song, played by a very punk band. Wilson belts out smooth vocal rhythms, in his thick, tuneless punk tones, whilst the drums pogo away with an exuberance that verges on violence. 'Ivan Splits in Half' is one of those songs that shouldn't work, but does.
'All This Talk of Sinking Ships is Making Me Thirsty' is Leagues Apart's most traditional punk-rock song. One long, abrasive rasp, where the sandpaper riffs slide seamlessly into one another. Good luck finding the place where one riff stops, and the other begins. Meanwhile, 'Hail To The King, Baby' is League Apart's most experimental number. Wilson pushes his voice to the absolute limits on this one. It sounds as though he's causing himself some genuine damage, and it's horrifically mesmerising. After hearing Wilson apparently trying to make himself vomit against a backdrop of runaway locomotive riffs, every other punk song will sound pretty tame.
Although not as original as the majority of TNS Records' acts, Leagues Apart turn out seven solid, DIY punk-rock songs, each with its own distinctive flavour, and spearheaded by Wilson's unique, slobbery vocals. Leagues Apart remain true to their roots throughout this mini album, but aren't afraid to explore the extreme edges of their comfort zone. Bristling, snappy, galloping DIY punk, with subtle innovative touches that'll leave you intrigued as to what Leagues Apart will cook up next.