November 3rd sees the release of We Fight Like Kids’s debut EP, landing as a mix between hardcore and pop-punk, and linking in all the best traits of both. This five track offering has the new-coming Midlanders swing from infectious sing-a-long refrains to scream-your-lungs-out harsh vocals, mastering the links between the genres in a subtle yet tight manner.
Launched off the back of a typical “post hardcore” sound, each of the five tracks deviates very slightly and adds a few extra ingredients to the mix, so the tracks become flecked with individuality. These sparks don’t fully take hold until the later tracks off the release, though, and it very much feels like a great force of talent is waiting in the wings for the outfit, a talent which is only brushed upon in this release.
The band make the safe but clever choice to open and close the EP in the same manner; the opening track makes its gradual entrance through an influx of almost random sounds, finally breaking through radio static below the track launches open. Faulty radio moments are a feature frequently included on early EPs (Green Day’s East Jesus Nowhere being a superb exception), but it is a well produced intro nonetheless and it consequently becomes difficult to fault.
After such an edgy style of opening, I rather expected Falconer to develop into a more eccentric and unpredictable track, but after the roaring vocals play their part in the art, it seems to ebb away from the creativity. There’s a fairly engaging guitar lead in the first half of the track, but otherwise the song seems to blandly stroll along until the eventual, abrupt close of the track. Tequila Slammers opens in pretty much the same way – without warning. Whilst a few moments suggest that a lot more could have been done, in general the songs continues to roll along smoothly (as smoothly as post hardcore can be, at least) until the designed-for-crowd-vocals section; endless repetition of the singular, “why don’t you go make my day?” becomes another moment that could have gloriously blossomed, yet instead seems to lose momentum with each chant.
It’s a real shame about these two tracks lacking the “umph” that the others have, as it sets the EP in a bit of a bad stead. Select the Ejector would’ve formed the perfect opener for the record, showing that the band are above and beyond the typical cliches and get-out options that the genre serves up. Ice Breakers continues the manner of not requiring a support crutch to make the most out of the talents they have, and instead of the desperate need to impress that the opening tracks hint at, the self-confidence in the fragmented editing takes the lead of the song, making it a personal favourite.
The longest off the record at almost six minutes, Creeper Complex commences with a (conveniently) creepy piano intro, and the withstrain held before the booming vocals kick in creates a fantastic opening. The contrasts between the vocals styles, and between the harsh vocals work and wind-up-ballerina backing show the band are fully aware of how to structure a track brilliantly. The minute and a half close touches on the lengthy side, but after such a brilliant finale, it’s forgivable.
Undoubtedly, there’s a strong line of fire in this record. It doesn’t prevail the whole way through, but few debut’s are perfect; I’ve no doubt the band will hone in on what slot together best for them by the time a sophomore release comes around.