With so much excellent new music being released every week, it can be difficult to keep abreast of absolutely everything deserving of review. However, in the interest of giving as many artists as possible a fair crack of the whip, we have Under The Radar to highlight a handful of releases that may pass you by.
For this edition of Under The Radar, we look at new releases from All Tied Up, Pretty Little Enemy, Orestea, Vanity, and High Wire.
All Tied Up – Breaking Silence EP
British pop-punk has become a surprisingly vibrant genre of late and hard touring Milton Keynes quartet, All Tied Up, have delivered another engaging record to add to the ever-growing list of quality releases. Although all the usual American influences are on display, as with peers like Roam and Catch Fire, ATU possess a distinctly British grittiness and are willing to push beyond the limitations of the genre, exploring heavier guitar lines and mixing up the rhythms to add a little texture.
Nevertheless, they also know how to deliver a deliciously hooky chorus like on the title track ‘Breaking Silence’, while ‘So Enthusiastic’ is quality from beginning to end. All in all, this is a highly enjoyable listen and we can expect to hear a lot more from these guys.
‘Breaking Silence’ EP by All Tied Up is released on 22nd September on Stack-in-a-box Records.
Pretty Little Enemy – Second Load
‘Pretty Little Enemy describe themselves as the metal Abba. One can only assume that is because they are made up of ’#2Bros2Hoes’, (their words, their hashtag). Quite why an obviously talented band, who deliver some seriously crunchy riffs to underpin Louise Body’s powerful vocals on irritatingly catchy tunes, feel the necessity to describe themselves as such on their overtly suggestive (albeit tongue in cheek) website is selling themselves short.
Whether or not they have the material to become world beaters or not remains to be seen, but the four tracks on offer here have a definite commercial appeal and would no doubt make for an enjoyable gig. However, the fact that it is only four tracks suggests that the dedication to misguided self-promotion could have been better spent on writing more songs.
‘Second Load’ by Pretty Little Enemy is out now.
Orestea – Elements
Full credit to Orestea for their slickly professional approach, despite being totally D.I.Y. They have succeeded in putting together a quality product in ‘Elements’, which builds good earnest tunes around Lisa Avon’s heartfelt vocals. OK, so their sound is seriously commercial and their distinctly millennial influences make it all seem somewhat familiar, but they obviously take what they are doing seriously and certainly know how to nail a melody.
Tracks like the poppy ‘Alive or Just Existing’ and the ballad ‘Getaway’ are fair reflection of their heavy pop style, while ‘Welcome to Surviville’ is insistently memorable. Quite how much appeal they have in the alternative rock world is questionable, but if you like your rock easy on the ear, you could do a lot worse.
‘Elements’ by Orestea is released on 22nd September.
Vanity – Perspective // Empathy EP
‘Empathy’ is the second in Vanity’s ‘Perspective’ series, following on from 2016’s ‘Dread’ EP. It is clear from the atmospheric soundscape of the opening title track that the six-piece formally known as Vanity Draws Blood are aiming at something above the metalcore norm, and by and large, they achieve it.
The EP is underpinned by brooding passages, features a variety of vocal styles, the light and dark textures to the excellent ‘Extrovert’ being particularly noteworthy, yet still packs a seriously hard punch. They have plenty of power on display, as on the full frontal assault of ‘Tranquil’, but their ambitious songwriting seems to have nailed the balance between complexity and aggression; so if you like your metalcore with a bit more substance, this is definitely worth checking out. Excellent record.
‘Perspective // Empathy’ EP by Vanity is released on 22nd September.
High Wire – Different Places EP
Chicago’s High Wire are another band in the latest wave of pop-punk and on ‘Different Places’ they have come up with a likeable bunch of songs. The template of mid-tempo bass lines and searing riffs is familiar enough, but there is a maturity to their measured sound, which combined with their easy melodies really hits the spot. The title track shows that they are on the poppier side of the genre, but as they are dealing with issues of personal growth there is nothing bubblegum about them, and it is all really well delivered. They may actually resonate better with audiences this side of the pond, given that the UK’s pop-punk scene is in similar territory right now.
Despite their melodic tendencies, there is also plenty to rock out to, tracks like ‘Something in the Way’ no doubt translating well to the live arena and if they can get themselves some decent tour slots, this could be a band to watch in the future.
‘Different Places’ EP by High Wire is out now.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)