2minutes2midnight‘How Did This Happen’ is the follow-up from 2Minutes2Midnight‘s début EP ‘Ask Freud’ and at six tracks, it’s a heavy endeavour indeed.

Lost opens the EP with a misleading acoustic intro that cuts angularly into clichéd rock riffs. It’s the musical equivalent of an awkward uncle pretending to take your nose and asking do you want it back; not half as clever or funny as it sounds. It’s dense, cluttered rock driven by 4/4 beats with lazy, clichéd lyrics to boot (such as “Everything will stay the same unless we play the game”).

The next two songs – Street Lives and Signs – continue down the same path with repetitive rock arrangements blockier than a box of Lego.

After essentially hearing the same song three times it’s nice that Carry On brings something new. It’s pop-punk underneath an Oasis-esque wail that all comes to a hand-brake halt at the acoustic middle section. It takes an unforgiving, no-nonsense approach and once it kicks off it doesn’t bother looking back.

Bachelor’s Walk is more of the same again with some “hey, hey” chanting to try and mix it up a bit. It’s a lazy attempt to add some variety that backfires and showcases the overall lack of originality across this EP.

Closing track Shine On is the silver lining on this EP. It’s a stripped back soft-rock song that drops the tricks used on the previous five songs. The in-your-face distortion is gone and no longer is everyone following the same riff. Even the lyrics have moved away from obvious clichés to something a lot more heartfelt and to the point.

It’s a bloated six-track EP that suffers from a lack of variety. 2Minutes2Midnight are at their most effective when they cut the macho riff-rock and go for something far more direct. If trimmed to three or four of the stronger tracks, we believe the EP would’ve had more impact.