To put it simply, it’s been a long time coming. A shifting (or more, continuously but unintentionally set back) deadline for release has left Nottingham trio On The Open Road building up a fair bit of suspense for their debut EP, Hold On To This. Ready for release on April 24th, the five track offering is the culmination of months of hard work and perseverance from the heavy pop-punkers, and I’m sure it’ll be a relief to the band and fans alike that it’s paid off well.
Yesterday saw the band’s new single Harm’s Way, which you can check out below, premiered on Toxic Online, and the heavier edge to the pop-punk style they began with is very apparent. The video shows the band adventuring around the Czech Republic last summer, and has already racked up a good few hundred views. For fans who’ve previously heard the band’s light, distinct pop-punk sound, there’ll be a shock in the opening harsh vocals, but they’ve not lost what they’ve previously been known for.
Trying to stab into a genre that’s so packed with young, pumped bands is a difficult feat, and with competition so fierce and competent, it’s a good job On The Open Road are too. The shift between harsh and clean vocals, backed up with fast riffs and nigh on manic drumming makes their sound a solid, developed one, slotting them among the likes of Boston Manor, ROAM and Trash Boat.
From the forthright and blunt manner of tellingly titled Baby This Isn’t A Game to the snowball build up of heaviest Hold On To This, there’s a very A Day To Remember edge to the music, in both style and excellence. Determined, loud, and unapologetically feisty, the EP powers through with a force capable of waking the most dormant of volcanos.
Every record has a weak spot, and despite the ridiculously promising opening and strong verses, there’s a box left half ticked in the chorus of Rollercoaster Girl; it doesn’t quite scan without sounding forced. Think of Bill Nighy’s Christmas Is All Around – it’s not noticeable enough to mark the record, it scarcely marks the tracks, but it breaks the stride and when they’re doing everything else so well, it’s easy to pick up on.
Closing the EP with an acoustic song always makes it feel like somewhat of a bonus track, and the raw, one take sound that What’s Best For You exhibits supports that. Heart-on-sleeve and, well, a bit emo, it’s easily comparable to the likes of Real Friends and rounds the offering up nicely.
On The Open Road have jumped into an overpopulated scene with a style to call their own, and as Nottingham pop-punk goes, they’re where it’s at. Accompanied with a live show that’s earned its name on the underground Nottingham circuit, they’re finally ready to break open the year with renewed force.
Watch the video for Harm’s Way below.