Bands like Slaves have brought punk to the attention of many recently, although arguably in a more watered down form. But on Dumbstruck, the third EP by Bristol quartet Weatherstate, the edgier, more unrefined side of the genre gets some well-needed representation.

Grit is a key ingredient in this EP, whether it’s in Harry Hoskins’ raspy yet melodic vocal or the crunchy guitar backbone. The five songs lie on the beefy side of things, and they mesh together perfectly. It’s something Dumbstruck really benefits from as including, say, an acoustic ballad (something a lot of breakthrough bands seem to do on EPs recently) would definitely wreck its flow.

And the overall Weatherstate vibe that is showcased is definitely something different. Hoskins’ voice has a pop punk tinge to it, and that combined with bona fide modern punk instrumentation makes the guys one of the more original offerings the genre has seen of late. Although the five tracks belong together, each sounds considerably different in other ways. Opener Stutter is punchy and raucous, falling just under two minutes long, and sounds different to standout Stuck In A Hole, Dumbstruck’s most irresistible track. It’s the closest thing to pop punk on the record, and has a hook that will be stuck in your head for days.

The second half of Dumbstruck explores the slower side of Weatherstate’s sound (which is probably about just shy of mid-tempo), especially in the tempo-hopping Piss It All Away and more tempo-consistent closer Grinding My Teeth. Both of these emit a stoner-rock kind of vibe in their slower parts, showing the band’s versatility and ingenuity in a genre so often condemned for its clichés.

Because of all this, the more straightforward Ill doesn’t quite match the standard of the rest of Dumbstruck. But it’s all still well above sub-par, and Dumbstruck is a brilliant showcase of truly innovative new talent. Debut full-length soon please, lads.

8/10

For fans of: Basement, Gnarwolves, The Menzingers
Words by Georgia Jackson

‘Dumbstruck’ by Weatherstate is out now on Failure By Design Records.

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