Indie pop is a funny old genre isn’t it. Especially given that every band is a little bit indie and pop’s tendency to cannibalise any genre it sets its mind to. We doubt any of this bothers Belfast-based quartet Hurdles, for whom indie-pop is a perfect descriptor. their second EP, titled Dusk & Dawn.
Their second EP, ‘Dusk & Dawn’ gets off to a questionable start with Closer, a shimmering slice of blocky, mid-tempo guitar pop led by a guitar part with very little character. It’s the kind of riff that might be better served as the background music on a YouTube pre-roll ad (you know them ads you just can’t wait to skip? Yep, them). Luckily for Hurdles though, it’s the weakest of the EP’s four tracks.
Title track Dusk and Dawn swaps the uninspired guitar out for a synth/vocal combo a-la Friendly Fires set to chill. It is a definite improvement, with singer Niall Hanna’s crystal clear vocal given space to shine. The song is allowed to unfold at its own pace before giving way to an interesting chorus underpinned by a beautiful tropical lead guitar part that sits right under Hanna’s vocal.
Wake starts things off with some lovely electric keys before getting right down and groovy with a bassline that would do Chic proud. Sadly, that groove goes out the window once the verse begins, but kudos to drummer Ross Haymes who knows exactly when to play and more importantly, when not to play. In this track, he goes from nice secondary additions to picking things up a gear in the chorus as Hanna refrains “soon I’ll fall into your arms, and I’ll be waiting for you when you come around”. Not the most inventive of lyrics, but for the genre they’re in it does the job nicely. It’s a shame that when they try to drive the final chorus home that there is no backing vocal there to bring things to the next level.
Closing track France wastes no time letting us know its intention as a summer tune with some sampled wave sounds, shimmering guitar chords and handclaps. Unlike opener Closer this guitar riff has a better chance of holding your attention, especially when the bass joins in to bring the groove. It all goes swimmingly until the chorus when it all falls a bit flat thanks to the main riff being overused, rather than introducing something new. Vocally, France suffers the same faith with Hanna sounding a little too similar to the verses.
Whilst not a bad EP by any means, it’s let down by having four tracks with similar tempos and song structures. The whole thing feels more like a band in transition than the finished article, but they’ll certainly be one we’ll be keeping an eye on and are definitely an exciting proposition, if they can tighten up their songwriting.