From Black Peaks all the way up to Architects, Brighton has already produced some of the most exciting bands in the British rock scene today. Adding this already glowing scene are indie rock-ish three-piece Gender Roles. Last week, they release their debut EP ‘Planet X-Ray’, a hazy, crunchy but highly palatable selection of tracks that will no doubt find the band an audience up and down the country.
While “indie” is certainly a key part of their sound, this isn’t something that fan of heavier music be put off by. Yes, there’s a certain element of tweeness often associated with the movement (particularly in the b-movie samples peppered throughout), but the production job leaves this sounding far more rough and ready than many of the genre’s most popular acts. First track ‘Skin’ is a great starting point for new listener, and is in actual fact the first song the band ever produced.
“With ‘Skin’ and a few bits and pieces from other songs, I had written them before we all got together. ‘Skin’ was nearly done” guitarist Tom reveals. “It was a great starting point because we got to skip the awkward ‘what shall we write’ bit. I sent Jared and Jordan rough guides to tracks, we met up, jammed, booked a show. Pretty much been the same since.”
While it’s fair to say most bands would rather forget their first attempt at writing a song together, ‘Skin’ showcases an impressive amount of songwriting maturity and focus.
Second song, the awarkedly titled, ‘First’ expands on the themes presented by ‘Skin’. With a super-catchy gang vocal chorus and inventive percussion, it’s clear from ‘First’ and the EP’s remaining tracks that Gender Roles have phenomenal chemistry.
‘Planet X-Ray’ culminates in ‘Watered Down’. Underpinned by grunge-esque dynamics, the downbeat lyrics contrast well with chorus’s chipper melody, before the songs loses itself in ragged vocals and riffs, and before you know it, this short but sweet EP is over.
While it would be inaccurate to pass off Planet X-Ray’s tone as just ‘fun’, the myriad of quirks and unwillingness to make it completely radio-friendly when it so easily could be makes for a joyous experience.
The trio celebrated the release of ‘Planet X-Ray’ with a run of shows this past weekend. When we asked Tom what a Gender Roles show is like, he responded with:
“It’s always live when we’re there. It’s a lot louder than an mp3 player? It’s always a laugh I suppose, Jordan and Jared have really long hair that’s pretty cool. Beers cheap sometimes? The 3D effect?”
Hard to argue with that, really.
‘Planet X-Ray’ EP by Gender Roles is out now on Hanger Records.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh_)