Castaway/Statutes split review

SPLITCOVERAt the start of this week, a pair of Midlands based artists paired themselves up to release an EP done the old fashioned way – splitting their music across it. At six track long and not including covers of the others’ work, the bands would probably be more accurate to describe the self titled offering as a split mini album, but it’s all the more attention to both acts. Recorded and mixed by Ian Boult (Basement, xRepentancex) and mastered by Bob Cooper (Citizen, Nai Harvest, Self Defence Family), there’s a wealth of experience gone into the offering, and it pays off impressively well.

One of these acts is Nottingham’s own Castaway (who we previously checked out briefly at Notts Pop Punk Fest in January). Forming over a love for band such as Title Fight, Basement and Balance & Composure, the five piece released their debut EP, Bleak, at the end of last June on a pay what you want basis.

Though the band take the second half of the EP, the close of their final June 15th so smoothly matches the style of Statutes’ sound it would’ve seemed more logical to fit them that way round. However, the other two tracks provide a rough edge in the vocals to accompany the chunky, grungey riffs, especially in middle Milk. Barely over two minutes long, it’s a vicious blast that deserves nothing less than to be played at full volume.

On the other half of the EP come Statutes, a band who exist purely as a creative outlet for the members, and will, in their own words, “continue to perform and record to anyone willing to listen until the day real life catches up”. It’s an intriguing attitude to have in an industry so progress and money driven, and perhaps that’s what makes their music so emotive.

Taking the opening half of the EP for their own, Statutes create a sound that meets in the middle of La Dispute and flatsound, with a slightly harsher touch. Though the echoing vocals seem somewhat incongruous to the music which have the detail and emotion to survive well as purely instrumental, it’s an incongruity that forms a fresh sound. Think the poetic originality of a newly turned over rock.

The cover of the record seems to directly imitate American Football’s album cover, and there’s something to be said for similarities in the music, but to the core this is fresh, organic talent in the music and if anyone had dared consider that the grunge/emo DIY world were dying out, well, here’s proof against that.

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