Describing Pulo Revé as Britain’s answer to letlive. is somewhat of a backhanded compliment. Of course, being compared to one of the US’s finest musical exports is nothing but a compliment of the highest order, but it also constructs a misleading image of the St. Albans quintet’s sound. Sure, letlive. might have a soundclash on their hands, but it’s nothing compared to what surfaces on É, the band’s debut full-length. Of course, to be the UK’s most interesting new post-hardcore band you need a tangible identity, and Pulo Revé have that in gallons.
In terms of where É‘s complete disregard for genre boundaries can be found on the musical map, it floats somewhere between SikTh’s acute math-metal and Dog Fashion Disco’s borderline ridiculous klezmer-grind. Across the twelve tracks on É, Pulo Revé throw near enough everything ever at the wall and splash it all in a thin coat of post-hardcore. On paper it sounds like an absolute shambles, but in all honesty, the majority of it actually works. In terms of post-hardcore, they gravitate towards the wordier, La Dispute-ier end, but even then it’s a far cry from that. Above At 5:05 switches between lolling, staccato verses and a chorus that sounds like a more off-kilter Cancer Bats, while Of All The Bodies In All The World sees frontman Oisín Fogarty Graveson developing a quickfire rap-style vocal over a spidery guitar line, and Pretty is almost a melancholy poem backed by sombre acoustics before building up into a jaunty riff and handclap combo.
It takes a while to get your head around the sheer volume of ideas per song, but when it clicks, there’s a lot of potential to be found in É, and the band themselves. That one band are au fait with so many polarised styles is a clear sign of potential, but it’s in Graveson where the power lies. He’s often reminiscent of Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds or The Streets’ Mike Skinner, not just in vocal dexterity, but in lyrical acumen. As with the music itself, the lyrics are more or less devoid of clichés (clearly making use of Graveson’s philosophy and English literature degrees), meaning that the entire album is a fresh listen, not just certain pinpointed areas. What’s more, the angular switches between vocal styles, such as on the electric Live Long And Last, only add to the spontaneity and unpredictability of the album.
Of course, with such an out-there ambition, É won’t be to everyone’s taste. That much is a given – it’s far too volatile for the casual listener, and it’s the breadth of styles that are packed into it that initially makes it seem like a daunting task to tackle. But what can’t be denied is, with Pulo Revé, we’ve got an absolutely fascinating band on our hands. They’re yet more proof of how thriving Britain’s underground is, and while it’s unlikely that they’ll be the next band to break through into the public consciousness, that’s hardly going to put a dampener on their brilliance.
For fans of: Goodtime Boys, Rolo Tomassi, letlive.
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘É’ by Pulo Revé is released on 22nd September.