One of the most reputable features of the UK’s rock scene is the near tireless championing of upcoming acts by more prominent names. While the incestuous nature of hardcore may take things a bit further than the norm, it’s hardly uncommon to see the outliers gain traction either through high-profile tours or merely by word of mouth. So for Scottish pop-punks Woes to have their praises sung by current men of the moment Neck Deep, even before the release of this debut EP, at least puts them in good stead to catch a few more ears.
That’s probably for the best too, as throughout Woes’ five efforts here, they could serve to impress a bit more. And the frustrating thing is that the fault isn’t entirely their own, just the preconceptions and abided norms of pop-punk as a genre that means there’s not much room to stand out. And while obviously not every band can be completely original, it hurts Woes more than most considering just how filled out the current quota is. As a result, their debut is solid, but nothing that, as of yet, points towards the same sort of explosion that Neck Deep have enjoyed over the past couple of years.
Still, that’s not at all saying that Woes are a bad band, as their self-titled EP definitely has a couple of moments that exemplify why UK pop-punk has been in such rude health. Worst Friend and Not Enough are the obvious contenders thanks to a slamming infectiousness that’s vamped up higher than the other tracks, but there’s nothing ultimately terrible on here. David Jess is a much more emphatic vocalist than others of his ilk with his less nasal tones, and it lends a thicker sense of presence to the likes of Thick AF and Winter Sun (even if the intensity of the latter does jar slightly with its lovestruck lyrics).
Again, there’s hardly anything that Woes do to fully separate themselves from the ever-growing quotient of melodic UK pop-punk, but it’s solid enough for a debut release and there’s nothing egregious to complain about. That said, in a scene like this, just average doesn’t really fly, and while Woes do have the potential to be something more, that’s something they’ll have to figure out sooner or late, or they run the very real risk of being swallowed up.
For fans of: Neck Deep, WSTR, Broadside
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Woes’ by Woes is released on 25th November on Rude Records.