Just under two years ago, The Call Back Academy released their debut EP, Smarter Than Your Average Bear, and now they’re back with their new EP, Chapters, released earlier this year. The band describe themselves as pop punk/melodic hardcore, and once you hear their work, you realise there’s no tighter category they can fit in to. They sound like an alternating mix of Pierce the Veil and Jeremy McKinnon – or has that already been done?
The first track on the EP, These Caving Walls, jumps straight in the deep end with harsh vocals – the best kind, where you can only just make out the lyrics. Pair that beauty up with a catchy chorus that combines optimistic intonation and brutally real lyrics, and you’ve created a masterpiece. There’s something endlessly refreshing about hearing this style of music embellished with an honest British accent instead of an American one (or even worse, an American imitation), and it’s a sound I don’t think I could ever get tired of.
Their second track, My Disclaimer, has an intro that builds up gradually, hinting at a slower yet more controlled and resolute attitude. Lyrically, I feel this song is superior on the EP, with lines such as “When I was younger I once said / ‘to make wrongs right takes just one word’ / But now I’m older all I see / is everyone talking but not listening”. This is a song about sticking up for yourself and what you believe in. Thankfully, the song isn’t half as corny as that description. It is moving though, and the certainty in the lead singer’s voice is absolutely phenomenal; although he does sound rather like Dan Smith (Bastille) at some points. The rougher vocals work alongside the clean ones without friction and create something incredible. The quiet determination continues to grow throughout, finishing in a fierce and abrupt, if not loud, close, making it my personal favourite from Chapters.
The final track seem to alternate more obviously between pop punk and melodic hardcore that the others do, and although the stark contrast works well, it feels slightly abstract in comparison to the rest of the EP. The slower drumming fits perfectly with the harsh vocals though, and it’s as passion fuelled as the other two tracks are. Plus, the final lines are guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
The best thing about listening to an EP that isn’t a debut, is that the band have more idea of what they’re doing – not in playing, but it how they want their music to fit together. It’s all too easy to think that harsh vocals are simply “screaming”, when they’re far from it, and a lot more skill and precision is needed than just shouting; it’s a skill that’s mastered in this EP. It’s incredible hearing this level of talent coming from an under-the-radar UK band – I sure hope they bring an album out sometime.
Rating – 4/5
Download the EP – https://www.musicglue.com/the-call-back-academy/shop/
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