Recently, Bristol-based Koshiro and Syren City joined together to release a split EP. I have to say, I was surprised at how well the two bands suited each other – the EP felt rather abstract and arty, yet intelligently formed throughout.
Malevolent, Koshiro’s first track off of the EP, has an intro which feels very electric, before the heavier guitars break in, which feel more appropriate and fitting to the harsh vocals – on occasion, these feel like they’re about to slip into the punk-pop genre, but this adjusts itself in seconds. Although some sections felt a little predictable for some reason, it wasn’t a problem and overall the track was very original. It’s fair to say there was a lot included in this track, including a rather unexpected break down, which is just saved from dropping the pace of the track with a strong drumbeat stepping in. The rather arcade-sound-effects style “game over” towards the end was another surprise – again, it fitted well into the track though. I wonder how they perform that live…
The second track off the EP is also from Koshiro, and has a music video (which you can check out here). Guts, Guilt, Greed has a much heavier drum intro, which contrasts nicely to the rest of the instrumental. The vocals – and entire song – sound like they’d fit into a video game advert well, but occasionally the fast guitar fades back into noise. The vocals are layered exceptionally well, reminding me very much of Jeremy McKinnon (A Day To Remember), and the lines fit together without any force, centred around the line “my guts, my guilt, my greed”. Although some moments feel slightly out of place, the softer vocals over the breakdown, the slightly more electric guitar, and the powerful harsh vocals finishing with “we’re all alone” make it a solid record.
The first of Syren City’s tracks on the EP is entitled Fire In Your Name, and from the start feels distinctly less hard-core and “pop-like”, with an American twist on it. The song begins with chanted lyrics, which feel a little too soon – they’re generally better saved till the end. It isn’t disastrous though, and although the vocals change around a lot (at one point slipping into something that sounds like the intro to Green Day’s East Jesus Nowhere) the variation fits in, and this clever vocal work makes up for the borderline repetitive backing. Throughout, the track felt like a strange cross between Green Day’s and Fall Out Boy’s newer work – but the sharp ending definitely has an impact.
The last track, Asphodel, has a longer and more intricate intro – again there is the essence of Fall Out Boy in there, though. The vocals are most definitely heavier, although sometimes the guitar feels a little too heavy and out of time for the harsher vocals. The breakdown vocals sound much more fluid however, and it is clear the band has a very distinctive sound – this is key as it makes their tracks much more memorable. To say the end is mostly just repeated lines, it is incredibly effective; although it begins to sound a little like a heavier version of R.E.M., I’m impressed.