REVIEW ROUND-UP: The Maine, Inhaler, Yonaka

The Maine

XOXO: From Love & Anxiety In Real Time

About a decade ago, The Maine’s frankly astounding hot streak they’ve been on lately would’ve probably seemed even more inconceivable. They were a sufficient pop-rock band and little else around the turn of the decade, but from 2011’s Pioneer onwards, their embrace of alt-rock, emo and more sophisticated pop-rock has seen them balloon into a band who aren’t as flashy as their peers, but have a lot more below the hood to offer. Even on their most recent leg of albums that have trended back in a poppier direction, that’s been the case; Lovely Little Lonely admittedly hasn’t stuck as well despite its lashings of acclaim upon release, but American Candy is still great, and 2019’s You Are OK has an ambition to it that still holds up for the most part. It’s all indicative of The Maine’s reliability, in how their modern era has a certain baseline of quality that’s far higher than both the wider scene and the band themselves early on would’ve let on. However, especially in their most modern work, that can be attributed to The Maine having a higher floor rather than ceiling, something that feels particularly abundant in XOXO…. It’s also to their credit that this is still a really good album, but more in the sense that The Maine’s aptitude for this sort of thing has been firmly nailed on for a good few years now. An opening pair like Sticky and Lips are as quintessential as this era of The Maine comes, in the bright, rubbery guitars coated in gleam and polish, and prominent percussion and bass to yield something a fair bit groovier than a lot of their contemporaries. And yet, The Maine still do it well, to where the darker throb of High Forever is a nice diversion, but it’s still a bit clunky within the sequencing all the same. There’s definitely the vibe of a summer album here, not only in how breezy the album’s pace is, but in the onus placed on lighter tones that be bent and corralled into some of the poppiest songs this band have written in a while. Even so, the burly stabs of guitar on Pretender and the ‘90s alt-rock leanings of Anxiety In Real Time feel completely in place; for a while, there’s been a classicist sensibility to The Maine that they’re playing into more overtly, but just the lushness and hazy, gauzy production on April 7th and Face Towards The Sun can still achieve that effect really well.

It’s definitely a case of The Maine being in their comfort zone throughout, but never so much that they feel hindered or uninspired. Sure, they’ve got their distinct palettes they’ll draw from rather often, but they aren’t repeating themselves in the same way that others are liable to do. The closest they come to that is probably Pretender, which can feel rather perfunctory as a self-belief song that’s deep and prevalent in this band’s wheelhouse, but in general, XOXO… avoids anything too overt. It’s fortunate that subject matter like wistful summer love and reminiscence allows for that, and the likes of Sticky and Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful are sold with such wide-eyed exuberance at all times. It’s something that John O’Callaghan’s slightly more ruffled vocal delivery can convey remarkably well, as is the sonder and sway of a track like April 7th that probably has the strongest melodic cues on the album. It’s the sort of thing that could easily be dismissed as standard in the context of The Maine’s catalogue—mostly because it kind of is—but it’s not like they’re getting any worse at it, nor is it any less enjoyable. The Maine have carved out such a rock-solid point of quality for themselves that even what can be deemed a ‘regular’ album isn’t likely to disappoint, and that’s where XOXO… falls closest of all. At least there’s still creativity, even if it is locked within the band’s own template, and the looseness and beaming nature of it all would imply there’s still a spark there. Sure, it’d be nice for The Maine to maybe try and experiment a bit, or go further outside the box like they did with some of their mid-period work, but for where they are now, another solid crop of what they’ve been doing well for years is nothing to turn away at.

7/10

For fans of: The Summer Set, Yellowcard, All Time Low

‘XOXO: From Love & Anxiety In Real Time’ by The Maine is out now on Photo Finish Records / 8123 Records.


Inhaler

It Won’t Always Be Like This

Chances are the immediate rise of Inhaler to upcoming indie’s top bracket might seem a bit peculiar, but it really shouldn’t. Even on its face, they can easily be dismissed as the next act in regular rotation to fill in the buzz band slot, but dig a little deeper, and the revelation that frontman Elijah Hewson’s father is one Bono and things start to make a lot more sense. Yes, there’s no direct connection between Inhaler and U2, but it’s the sort of factoid that industry types just love to bank on, and thus the major label deal and high-end promotion with just a few singles to their name feels very commonplace in the assessment of this music as a business. But even without the looming shadow of nepotism, it’s not like Inhaler aren’t exactly the sort of indie band that gets that push anyway, and subsequently gets forgotten just as quickly. Yep, It Won’t Always Be Like This, seemingly in bold-faced defiance of its own title, finds its creators as yet another group of patrons of the indie hype cycle, with the results that speak for themselves. The tone is generally weighed-down; the production seldom brings any vibrancy; and the whole thing gives off such an uninteresting air. There are sparks of life in the title track and When It Breaks that operate on a stock but effective ‘indie anthem’ basis, only to yield Inhaler’s uncommon moments of populist verve which clearly doesn’t run in the family. There are bound to be U2 comparisons made, especially when Hewson sounds very much like old Dad, but even in their later days, U2’s stadium ambition will still shine through, regardless of how bloated and uninteresting the music around them is; with Inhaler, they sound perfectly comfortable with mid-afternoon slots on festival second stages for the rest of their career.

It’s more forgettable than outright bad, truth be told, but it’s a factor of Inhaler having so few distinct features to them. They don’t carry much tangible intensity—which parlays into the Keane-by-Oasis mundanity of My King Will Be Kind with consummate ease—nor do they even sound too thrilled to be here. It’s what makes a performance that falls into being uniformly capable so noticeable, where there’s enough guitar and bass and occasional synth to tick all the right boxes for the sort of indie they’re making, and never go beyond that. Hell, beyond some profanity and the uses of the word “bitch” that all feel hugely out of place on an album this milquetoast, the lyrics fall into the same holding pattern as well, where they’re too broad to be all that meaningful but edge just close enough into earnestness to matter. It’s what this sort of indie specialises in—always has, always will—and Inhaler are no exception despite what an initially more promising lineage might imply. Even if it’s not exactly wretched, in how this stuff can be so interchangeable that some degrees of net quality will inevitably bubble up, It Won’t Always Be Like This is just another one of these, primed for the pile when the next band comes along with the exact same sound and displaces Inhaler like they did to those who came before. It really is getting exhausting harping on the same routes when discussing albums like this, but when there’s so little else to talk about, it’s an unfortunate necessity. Inhaler are just the newest link in a chain ready to become as faceless and unremarkable as all the rest.

4/10

For fans of: Sea Girls, The Snuts, The Academic

‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ by Inhaler is out now on Polydor Records.


Yonaka

Seize The Power

Yonaka’s path to this point has been anything but straightforward, which is actually a rather noteworthy reality. They started out as a pretty cut-and-dry indie-rock band, before freewheeling into more polished territory and now among the sort of genre-agnostic crossover alt-pop that’s kind of a weird fit overall. They’re now rubbing shoulders with bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Fever 333 (the latter on this very release, no less), and that feels like they’ve been dunked headfirst into a brand new scene that they’re working backwards to assimilate into. Maybe that explains where some of the more blatant issues on this new release come from, marketed as a mixtape to presumably paper over the notion of disparate ideas not really fitting together, but also refusing to hide that fact whatsoever. It’s quite clear that Yonaka still don’t really know what they want to be, as Seize The Power flits between pop-rock, indie and hip-hop with marginal blending between the three, in a way that’s chronically uneven but probably represents the most interesting side of Yonaka to date. There’s not a smash-in-the-making like Fired Up, but that sort of booming, glossy pop-rock is still replicated well on Ordinary and Raise Your Glass, while Get Out’s burbling electro-pop is the runaway highlight of the project, and though Clique is a bit blown-out and messy, Fever 333’s Jason Butler is such a wealth of charisma that he can easily rope it back into place. The pick-and-choose aspect is interesting, but it also makes it difficult to identify an end goal beyond trying out these sounds; it certainly feels like a mixtape for how disparate each individual piece is, for good and for ill. Still, it isolates the elements of Yonaka that work the best overall, particularly the tighter programmed percussion that gives a song like Call Me A Saint its modern edge. Any hints of basslines or guitars outside of straighter rock pivots are diminished and subsequently missed by quite a good deal, but at the same time, there’s a magnetising quality to what Yonaka bring regardless, if only as a result of curiosity for where they might end up.

And yeah, that might seem like a cop-out judgement overall; after all, Seize The Power isn’t much different from a lot of other alt-pop pivots with dubious merit, in a messy presentation and production that seldom puts its best elements to the fore. But it’s hard to explain what works more here, or why Yonaka’s particular moves feel more worthwhile than others. Maybe it’s the fact they’re willing to fully break their own boundaries in a way that many will claim to but ultimately be too reticent to do; there was no reason to do a blocky Ashnikko pastiche for Greedy, and while it’s still not all that good, the gall to try is respectable. It’s the main benefit of Yonaka feeling so out of place at the current level they are, where embracing that creativity brought by the all-encompassing alternative is always more likely to leave an impression, be that good or bad. It’s better than a constant drizzle of boredom or meeting the expected mandate of ‘transgression’, and at least Yonaka are leaning into that more. It’s also good that they’ve got a vocalist like Theresa Jarvis, who mightn’t always be the most flexible or believably assertive presence behind the mic (especially when she verges on rapping), but she really does throw herself in from all angles, and will hit a real point of excellence when in the more emotionally-driven moments of Raise Your Glass or Anthem. Lyrically, a lot of this is focused on batting back against adversity and finding that strength to keep going on, and having Jarvis as more outwardly expressive is a predictably strong base to have there. She’s a welcome presence among so much of the dour, deliberately aloof alt-pop singers, and that’s where Yonaka could significantly advance here. On the whole, Seize The Power is far from a stellar release—just listening to it makes that apparent—but the ideas and creative beats they hit will happen upon some real points of interest, especially if they can be built on going forward. As charitable as such an evaluation may be, there’s definitely a spark buried under the mess, and Yonaka putting in the work to unearth will ultimately be worth it.

6/10

For fans of: Calva Louise, Bloxx, Fever 333

‘Seize The Power’ by Yonaka is released on 15th July on Believe UK.


Times Of Grace

Songs Of Loss And Separation

All signs could’ve easily pointed to Times Of Grace’s 2011 album being a one-off venture. As much as seeing the return of Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz collaborating was thrilling, Leach would go back to fronting Killswitch Engage again not long after, and it could make the whole idea of a side venture to fill that hole feel a little redundant. The Hymn Of A Broken Man was definitely a strong album, but it could easily be slot into the same metalcore bracket as Killswitch Engage, just a bit more open and atmospheric at times. But at the same time, choosing to revive Times Of Grace after a decade must come with some reason, where the creative intent or direction just wouldn’t be suitable for a new Killswitch album, and that’s exactly the case on Songs Of Loss And Separation to an almost extreme degree. Not only is this better than anything Leach and Dutkiewicz’s main band have produced in years, this is one of the strongest examples of emotional music delivered this year, simply through the oft-overlooked medium of honesty and sincerity. Broad poetry isn’t always bad when it can sold well, and Leach’s tremendous vocal performance really seeks to embrace that notion, where songs like Rescue and Bleed Me take what could otherwise feel maudlin and make them truly soar. So much of this album stems from the breakdown of Leach’s marriage and the inner turmoil that followed, and that red-raw source is being exhumed and exorcised in such a powerful fashion. There are feelings of inadequacy on Mend You and battling with gnawing self-doubt on Medusa, shrouded by a very cold and bleak worldview that’s prominently displayed and righteously weathered. The lack of light or resolution ultimately feels like the point; even on the closer Forever, Leach remains battered by his own emotions with no end in sight, and the genuineness of that weight pushes Songs Of Loss And Separation forward by an almost immeasurable degree.

It’s not like this is some creative masterclass either, but Times Of Grace’s dedication to their craft is ultimately what makes them soar so high. It’s easy to imagine a few who’ll see this as a significant step back, when it’s less heavy and the screams and metalcore elements are greatly reduced, but combining that spirit with towering straight-up metal yields the most compelling version of this band, especially as far as pushing the cinematic boundaries of their themes. On multiple occasions, this is the musical equivalent of shouting to the heavens just to throw those grievances into the ether, the expulsions of grief that drive The Burden Of Belief and Far From Heavenless, or the perfect growth and swell that turns Cold into an utterly stunning ballad. There’s also the distinct strains of grunge DNA that lend more dimensionality here; you’ll get Black Hole Sun guitar turns on Bleed Me or serpentine Alice In Chains vocal harmonies on Currents, and that does a lot for ramping up the tension that’s so well captured on this album. Songs Of Loss… has few moments of outright thrill, but opting for a more deliberate pace throughout gives Leach’s more of a pedestal to swell and churn upon, and just gives the album a greater sense of richness overall. The guitars are languid but never luxuriate in that, as the production still feels distinctly metallic in how beefs everything up, even if its dalliances towards grunge and radio-rock are still noteworthy. Admittedly the actual playing doesn’t hold equal weight to the vocals and sentiments, but it’s the perfect accompaniment all the same, as the towering backdrop that could crumble down at almost any moment, and still feel righteous and earth-shaking while doing so. Put simply, as example of this sort of metal, where it’s unflinchingly melodic, open and earnest, this is possibly one of the best permutations of that to date, and Times Of Grace barely seem to even put a foot wrong throughout it. On strength of intent alone, it’s one of the best albums of 2021, no contest, but it remains so gripping and visceral even among that, not to mention bearing the monolithic size that just always seems to work. Ten years away hasn’t dulled Times Of Grace in the slightest; in fact, it’s done quite the opposite.

9/10

For fans of: Alice In Chains, Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour

‘Songs Of Loss And Separation’ by Times Of Grace is released on 16th July.


Bad Luck.

Summer Of Pain

The current pop-punk renaissance is doing a fine job of ignoring the acts that could actually benefit from it. Bad Luck., for instance, have been putting in solid work for years with an emo-flavoured pop-punk sound that could definitely cross over, but because there’s a bit of actual creativity in there, it’s probably going to continue to be ignored. It’s not really fair, especially seeing as Summer Of Pain has the potential to do well; Bad Luck. feel suitably refined and polished without totally forgoing the scrappiness of the indie scene, and come packed with the sort of hooks on Favorite Smile and Gwendolyn that air tailor-made for platforms far bigger than their small stature would probably indicate. The writing is very pop-punk in its themes and perspectives, but there’s also more of a homespun feel to it that factors into Bad Luck.’s personality a lot. They’re not just another band looking to exhume the corpses of the 2000s wholesale, even if those touchstones can be very prominent throughout. It’s definitely true of Dominick Fox’s vocals, which might lean into the nasal over-pronunciations a bit too heavily, but it at least feels genuine, and as though it’s coming from a place of individuality that keeps Bad Luck. standing tall more of less throughout.

It definitely doesn’t hurt when Summer Of Pain feels a bit more playful with the pop-punk and emo sounds, in that the band aren’t entirely fixated on one limited pocket in the way that’s become the norm within the sound. It all obviously fits together too, be that in the slightly more aggressive turns of ROY, the more solemn, downbeat vibe of The Plan Is No Plan or the grittier emo of IDC. Within all of that there’s Frequent with its incredibly small acoustic lines and generally chipper demeanour, but even as the greatest outlier here, it does feed in to Bad Luck.’s very DIY sensibility, if only on presentation alone. There’s something refreshingly no-frills about a lot of this album, even when factoring in a certain amount of sheen, which is notable but never intrusive and still leaves room for some guitar crunch to come to the fore. Honestly, with how watered-down the pop-punk sound has become—and how vehemently that’s been pushed as ‘the default’—a band like Bad Luck. championing something with a bit more meat and verve is a welcome sight, doubly so when it’s done so well. Summer Of Pain isn’t adding anything on its own, but it’s a good reminder of why pop-punk can be so enjoyable when done well, and when given some more oomph and drive to work with. Paradoxically, that’s probably why Bad Luck.’s future as a breakout success might be a bit further away than preferred, but they’re going forward swinging regardless, with a genuinely enjoyable album under their belts.

7/10

For fans of: New Found Glory, Seaway, A Will Away

‘Summer Of Pain’ by Bad Luck. is out now on Take This To Heart Records.


Cognitive

Malevolent Thoughts Of A Hastened Extinction

Yep, it’s tech-death alright, but you’re not going to find many complaints about that circling within the Cognitive camp. They’ve been around for a decade now, after all, picking up some impressively high-profile support slots within tech-metal and deathcore, and linking up with Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan engineer Alan Douches for this fourth album in an frankly masterful display of synergy. Because this really is what you’d expect from a seasoned tech-death band flanked by someone with those credentials, in the blisteringly intense and layered guitars and drums that could rip flesh from bone at any moment, with Shane Jost’s screams only dialling that extremity up an extra few notches. It’s not like respite is an option either; Cognitive are full-blast all the time, though with a degree of acumen that keeps them consistently interesting. Technicality is to be expected (in that it’s literally part of the genre’s name), and Cognitive really rest of that notion without using it as the be-all and end-all. There’s still song construction here, not just reams of spiralled-off flexing, and that makes such a considerable difference when taking the album as a whole. Between that and the shorter length, it feels a lot tighter and more manageable, and even without any obvious hooks, the bombarding might of it all feels easier to digest on the whole.

Of course, Cognitive are still indelibly placed within the tech-death sphere, which means that lyrics almost exclusively focus on desolation, destruction and all that lovely stuff, and the crop of instrumental tones they use doesn’t tend to deviate. You aren’t going to find any tremendous bass grooves, for a start, but the slicing, sharpened edges of the guitars more than make up in terms of cutthroat intent, and a lot of credit needs to go to AJ Viana’s drumming and how bloody-minded it is, especially in the machine-gun passages that just always hit in this sort of metal. The production is really solid too, in accentuating how tight and refined everything is while still allowing it to be heavy, with a cleaner finish characteristic of tech-metal that’s a lot less blocky and regimented here. On the whole, tech-death seems to get that balance on a greater equilibrium and Cognitive are no exception, in a blend of rawness and refinement that’s much better for something like this to work with. It’s indicative of a band with experience of how to properly manage their abilities, and when placed alongside another stiff, bog-standard tech-metal band, the difference is night and day. This isn’t revolutionary within this or any adjacent scene, but Cognitive deliver a really solid example of it, almost from front to back, and that feels as though it matters more for what they’re trying to be. Technically-minded metal is so saturated right now that just being better is enough, and Cognitive are hitting that particular marker pretty effectively.

7/10

For fans of: Dying Fetus, Suffocation, Origin

‘Malevolent Thoughts Of A Hastened Extinction’ by Cognitive is released on 16th July on Unique Leader Records.


Ophidian I

Desolate

You don’t realise how many striations a sub-genre as seemingly narrow as tech-death has until there’s two examples right next to each other. Ophidian I might ostensibly belong to the same camps as Cognitive, but there’s definitely a difference, where they’ll put more stock in traditional death metal with their technical flourishes serving more as an accompaniment. It’s still good too, arguably as a more workable base for what this sort of heavy yet progressive music where the individual points of focus are in that order. Ophidian I’s full-force assault is where their greatest strengths lie, with a drum sound this titanic and battering and just a general blanket mood of oppressive destruction, and with proficiency in the squealing guitars overlaid on Unfurling The Crescent Moon and Dominion Eyes, the elements of technicality can simultaneously feed into that heft. Other than the brief acoustic intro on Captive Infinity, Desolate is another example of an album operating on full blast, though the verging towards—for lack of a better term—traditional death metal allows a bit more modulation to come through. A track like Storm Aglow might be utterly blistering, but its moments of ebb and flow are easy enough to identify, and it’s a better album for it overall.

It’s where the blanket of ‘tech-death’ mightn’t be as appropriate for Ophidian I, rather the more accurately evocative descriptor of ‘technical death metal’. It might seem pedantic but the differences are there in how much bigger and more open Desolate feels, and how the band are able to ride that so well. Features will certainly cross over, primarily the usual suite of lyrical themes and vocalist John Olgeirsson sounding like all manner of vicious beasts rolled into one, but again, it’s something Ophidian I are able to roll with while still putting marginally their own spin on it. This isn’t unique by any means, but the parameters of their sounds do feel a bit looser and more pliable, and that’s how the older or more traditional influences have been let in. Fittingly enough for a band from Iceland, it’s got the sensibilities of Nordic melodeath in its very cold and forceful sound, but with an execution that’s tighter and more blade-like, and the confluence of those philosophies of metal works a lot better than maybe could be predicted. That in itself makes this an intriguing listen, but the way everything comes together with power and intricacy being so tightly interwoven makes it worth paying a lot more attention.

7/10

For fans of: Decapitated, Necrophagist, Helfró

‘Desolate’ by Ophidian I is released on 16th July on Seasons Of Mist.


Silvertwin

Silvertwin

Retro fetishism is clearly still alive and well in music, but at least Silvertwin are pulling from a source that’s yet to be completely bled dry. It’s quite a few sources actually, in a roundabout blend of sophisitpop, Britpop, ‘70s soft-rock and vaguely Beatles-ish melodies, on a self-titled album that, to give it a huge amount of credit right out of the gate, knows how to work with what it has. The production is what shines most on this debut, as the glitzy strings on Doubted and the horns and disco strut on The Night Is Ours have such a good balance within the mix, all while still allowing the pianos and bass to serve as a great, prominent foundation. It’s the sort of music that’s easy to like despite being a good bit outside its use-by date, mostly because there’s a looseness to Silvertwin’s performance style that’s emblematic of the time they’re drawing from. As authentic as the sound is—impressively so, at times—there’s still a willingness to be light and have fun that’s definitely appreciated. Silvertwin have slight connections to bands like The Lemon Twigs in their brands of revivalism (both were produced by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado and that definitely shows more positively here), but Silvertwin are a lot more likable in how they come across, when they aren’t bound to the usual stripes of retro-rock banality.

That said, it doesn’t run too deeply, and past the level of an enjoyable throwback played straight, there isn’t a huge amount here. It’s the case of a lot of bands like this where they struggle to find an identity of their own; frontman Isaac Shazam even sounds more than a touch like Paul McCartney, and there’s not a shortage of acts from the ‘70s to whom this sort of glossy pop music can be attributed to. More than anything, Silvertwin serve as a good proof of concept for this sound without doing much to elevate it, which, again, sees the only reason for them to be slightly outside of the throwback crowd being the sound they have. Even the writing will sink into a comfort zone that’s very indicative of this era, in love songs that aren’t too specific both to their credit and detriment; they’re not stuffed with obvious anachronisms that make the nostalgic intent obvious, but they could also have a bit more flair at the same time. On the whole though, Silvertwin are never derailed by any of that, simply because the built-in factor of enjoyability in their sound is enough to get them by on its own. The sound and production sets them a handy couple of steps above their competition, and that’s a good place to be for the time being. Obviously more needs to be done to sustain it, but for retro revivals and the frequently underwhelming universality of them, something like this goes down a lot easier.

6/10

For fans of: Electric Light Orchestra, Paul McCartney, Supertramp

‘Silvertwin’ by Silvertwin is released on 16th July on Silvertwin Records.


Collars

Everything Present 1

For a brand new band, it’s impressive to see how quickly Collars have gotten their feet in the ground. The promise of stripped-back, two-person indie might’ve lost its luster a long time ago, but there’s at least a bit more of a unique slant here, going for the bedroom-indie-pop approach that makes use of quaint, scratchier tones that give such a limiting setup a bit more character. Even now though, this does feel like a duo pushing themselves as far as their fairly rigid setup will allow, and while there’s a decently ramshackle tone to the guitar that’s nice, songs like Jeremiah and Gemini just don’t pick up the same excitement level. A song like Over You might feel even thinner and more cobbled-together with just how small the choppy guitar feels, but that embodies a homespun charm that’s really welcome here, and replicated on the jaunty ukulele strums and rolling percussion of I Do. Collars clearly aren’t a ‘volume over variety’ sort of duo, which can be difficult to work with and probably serves as the explanation for why Everything Present 1 mightn’t hit as well as similar EPs do. The concept is still interesting and the flicker of negative space between such a small selection of instrumental parts is a really nice touch to illustrate how small-scale this is, but Collars just don’t grip as wholeheartedly without being a bit more fleshed out.

That said, this is the sort of EP that really feels tailored to the bedroom-indie scene who’ll be more receptive to that, and on that criteria, there’s still a good amount to like here. Vocalist Dan has a tone somewhere between Florence Welch and KT Tunstall, which fits well with the intimate, almost coffee shop aesthetic that comes from Kane’s scrappier guitars and percussion. The writing fits a lot of that same mood too, with a bit of indie sweetness and bite meshing together well, and feeling pleasantly matured for a band just releasing their debut EP. It’s all generally solid stuff, rarely rising to the level of ‘potential next big thing’, but greasing the wheels by the perfect amount to where Collars getting there doesn’t seem too unlikely. It’s something different in the realm of indie duos, albeit being a little more difficult to swallow, but there’s a nice energy going on within Collars that would be nice to more of going forward. Pretty good stuff; it’d definitely be nice to see how they’d build and improve.

6/10

For fans of: Diet Cig, Camp Cope, The Beths

‘Everything Present 1’ by Collars is released on 16th July on Laundry Rooms Records.


Words by Luke Nuttall

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