At the back end of last year, Nottingham pop punkers Layby headed into the studio to record their sophomore EP, Life’s Great Illusions with James Hill at Sheffield’s Steel City Studios (ROAM, While She Sleeps, Me Vs Hero). However, the end of the year saw a change for the band, with vocalist Aaron John Bowes parting ways from the rest of the outfit, but now back with new frontman Miles Kent, Layby are ready to show the world they’re still kicking and screaming. At the end of last month they released their new five track offering, after premiering the lead single of it, Chronic, at Dead Press.
I think it’s fair to say that opening Soundcheck sort of kicks off the EP; there’s no great tidal wave of energy in the minute long instrumental – though it feels like it’s about to leap into staccato riffs and gang vocals at any moment – and in effect it feels closer to an interlude than a powerful commencement, taking the edge off the lead single that follows suit.
Chronic‘s visual accompaniment is nothing short of a massive party with local pop punk bands to pair with an absolute corker of a tune. Lighter undertones last through the percussion heavy opening, before the former frontman’s vocals tear into the music. The pacey instrumental contrasts the soaring lyrics perfectly to form a true yet original pop-punk sound, with a hooking middle eight fading into a powerful ending that’ll be massively impressive at a live show. Addictive, punchy and a strong way to kick off the bulk of the EP.
In the same vein as Chronic, Where I Stand lets a harsh side to the vocals slide alongside the refrains of the track, and though the instrumental has a couple of glorious moments, they’re all but masked in the momentum of the track – I imagine this’d be a fantastic one love for solos and circle pits.
Aggressively melancholy Kicking And Screaming does as it says on the tin, the rough vocals once again suiting the rapid and intense instrumental, with gang vocals and developed structure making the track set to be a stand out favourite among fans, before closing Losing Faith takes the band’s sound in another direction, with drum solos and hooks aplenty.
Layby have clearly grown in confidence and capability since their debut EP, Bombsite, with the structure and creativity improving tenfold, to create an EP that’s constantly shifting and thoroughly engaging.
Watch the video for Chronic below.