In their short four year lifespan, Belfast based three-piece Abandcalledboy have built up quite the cult following. Listening to their latest self-titled EP it doesn’t take long to realise why. Loaded with hard hitting alt rock anthems it sees the band blend noise and melody with very effective results.
Opener Another Meat Industry perfectly captures what this band is all about – a mix of muscular riffing, thundering drums and tortured vocals. It’s frantic and it’s visceral but it’s all tempered with a nice pop nuance. It’s followed by the equally impressive Cliff Richard. The lead single off the EP, this one comes with more than a glint of satire – thankfully owing nothing whatsoever in terms of sound to the god bothering singer. Serotonin completes an impressive opening salvo on which massive riffs are very much the order of the day once again.
Three songs in and this bands modus operandi is fairly apparent. This is unapologetically old school stuff with the band basically ignoring every musical innovation of the past two decades and embracing alt rock like it was still 1991. Original it is not but for the first half of this album this is easily ignored. The middle section is less kind with the band’s limitations made more obvious. There’s not much wrong with either Expect Less, Achieve Nothing or Places of the Road, in fact both are decent songs, but the record could really do with a change of pace at this point.
The final two songs get the EP back on track. It’s more of the same again but there’s a definite improvement in quality. Mirrorlover comes loaded with the biggest riff on the album. It’s absolutely massive sounding in fact, bringing to mind Biffy Clyro at their heaviest. It’s followed by The Trick is in the Timing, another abrasive slice of power punk. This one closes out the album in the same caustic manner it began.
Northern Ireland has a history of producing quality alternative music and Abandcalledboy are certainly carrying on that tradition. For all the band’s merits though, if they want to make more of an impact a bit of variety will be needed on their next release. For now this will do though, a collection of caustic hook-filled stompers that cements the band’s position as one of the most promising talents in Ireland at the minute.