‘Apartments’ is the debut EP from Belfast-based indie rockers, Hit the B Button. The EP tells the story of people stuck in apartments as they play with game consoles, gadgets and their own imaginations. And through a selection of quirky and upbeat songs, it does a very good job at it.
A series of video game style sound effects flank a guitar riff that spirals into the beginning of the opening track, Martial. The upbeat guitar work, while simple, creates a strong foundation through repetition. As the song progresses, the intensity builds and the intricate layering of instruments becomes prevalent. The final minute of Martial shows off Stuart Ledgerwood’s vocal range as he states, “I can’t explain us falling out” with growing vigour.
If you were looking for yet more video game references, Blue Potion, an obvious homage to The Legend of Zelda series, certainly delivers. It’s gentler than other tracks on the EP, featuring more bluesy riffs and a more prominent set of lyrics. “I’ve drowned in waters deeper than your concern,” declares Ledgerwood, right before lead guitarist Phil Wright opens up with another face-melting barrage of licks.
The slight change in style from track to track is one of the more interesting things about ‘Apartments’, and this generally pays off for Hit the B Button. But sometimes, (as on Sorry About This Steven) it just doesn’t work. The grungy riffs and general foreboding vibe don’t sit well, and leave the track lacking a certain something – which ends up eradicating the upbeat feel created by the rest of the EP.
However, Ganges is a song where the style change just works. Every instrument seems to be fighting to be heard, making the song feel like a full on chase sequence. The addition of a pitch shifting effect to the lead guitar adds another element to the fray, setting it apart from other tracks on ‘Apartments’. The guitar pairing battle it out through increasingly technical riffs, as the rhythm section ground the song impressively.
Hitting the B button in video games will often get you out of a bad situation or allow you to exit. ‘Apartments’ is not something you should hit the B button on. A lot of effort has gone into the creation of this EP, and it’s evident all over. The production is top notch and the song-specific artwork is a very nice touch, and all of which was done entirely by the band. ‘Apartments’ may fall short as it tries to cross genres, but it’s an admirable attempt at doing so. Let’s hope that it paves the way for Hit the B Button’s musical journey to really begin.