Remember back in, like, 2014 when there would be new pop-punk bands springing up all over the place, just hoping for even a fraction of the success that Neck Deep had, only to find themselves ploughing through their local scenes and nothing more? It’s a phenomenon that’s calmed down since, but even at the very back end of 2016, it still happens. Just look at Storm Harbour, the latest addition to the list of starry-eyed pop-punkers with a self-titled debut EP that shows they need some work before they’re ready to be properly unleashed.
That’s not to say that Storm Harbour are terrible though, because for a band who only formed last year, there are some real kernels of gold that can be found here. They tread the path of a baby New Found Glory, namely trading in thick, meaty riffs and massive pop hooks (with a lack of double-time drums, which is a nice touch indeed). And while their influences are still a bit too close for comfort with what the band themselves are putting their names to, the appropriation of them isn’t bad at all in places; the opening pair of Backbone and Alchemy would be legitimate bangers with a bit more TLC.
But that leads to the main problem with this EP, in that the production doesn’t do it justice at all, the same wishy-washy mix that new bands were using and abusing back in 2011. And while some leeway is offered for the limited resources of a new band, Ali Bowie’s vocals feel so thin and underdeveloped sometimes, especially compared to the instrumentation, to which the production lends a crunchier feel. There’s also the fact that, even for an EP, there’s a massive gap between the killer and the filler. It’s most prominent with the final two tracks Breaking Point and Calm Down, which abandon the tried-and-tested jugular grab of the traditional pop-punk track for something wider that quickly outstays its welcome.
Even so, there’s no reason whatsoever to completely write off Storm Harbour. As a debut it’s fine, establishing the very basic groundwork for what they want in the future. But even so, there’s a lot of work to be done if they want to rise up the ranks to something more impressive. There are hints that’ll come in time, but nothing emphatically convincing just yet.
For fans of: Neck Deep, New Found Glory, Hit The Lights
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Storm Harbour’ by Storm Harbour is out now.