In an age where every band is for some reason or another boxed in a genre, London-based trio Puppy are a slice of fresh air.
Formed in late 2014 by vocalist/guitarist Jock Norton and drummer Billy Howard, later joined by bassist Will Michael, Puppy has been gathering momentum for the best part of the year with their mix of harmonious melodies and crushing riffs. “I like weird indie rock music, I like really heavy stuff; a broad cross-section of different stuff and I think that comes out in our music” states Norton as we meet to discuss their second release, the ideally titled ‘Vol II’.
It picks up where last October’s self-titled EP left off, yet benefits from the bands time together with songs such as ‘Entombed’ and ‘Arabella’ showing a refined approach. “We tried to explore new territory” states Jock, “I think listening to the whole thing, it’s a bit more cohesive. The last one was more song, song, song. This one has more of an arc, a narrative curve. I’m very happy with that EP, but there’s certain things we wanted to explore more on this new one. In general, it’s a bit darker. It’s quite melancholy.”
It is no doubt that the three-piece has achieved their aim in producing a consistent and concise snapshot of Puppy in their current state. The aforementioned ‘Entombed’ is dominated by razor sharp riffs, whilst ‘Warm’ wallows in its comforting indie rock skin before ‘Here at Home’ offers a brooding Iron Maiden-esque tone with Norton’s complimentary sombre vocals. When asked to sum up the EP, Billy states “it’s a synced cross-section of Puppy. I think we’ve managed to distill a lot of our influences, there is a lot of stuff we’re into. It’s a true version of the band (so far).”
The mish-mash of stellar riffery and Weezer-like melodies with a hint of grunge has been impressing critics and fans throughout the summer. Most notably an early afternoon slot at Download later followed by an impressive outing at 2000 Trees. Whilst an Autumn run of shows with Connecticut indie emo outfit Sorority Noise will give the trio added road experience.
’Vol. II’ by Puppy is out now.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)