On Monday 13th July, Essex five piece The Dropper’s Neck are set to release their new EP, Nineteen | Sixteen. Like many bands of their style, they built a name for themselves by working hard on the live circuit and perfecting their live show before releasing work, and this time and dedication is probably what led to their debut album Second Coming being championed by the likes of Kerrang! and Rock Sound.
At seven tracks in length, Nineteen | Sixteen is one of those releases that falls into one of two categories – either some tracks should’ve been cut to make it more of an EP than a mini-album, or it should’ve had the time taken to fill it out to a full release. Unfortunately, I fear the former applies in the case of this offering.
Opening 57, 470 sounds like horses being bombed. No, really. Less than a minute long, this intro is literally made up of wailing horses and explosions, framed by feedback that seems to have no rhyme or reason. Maybe it’s a deep and meaningful piece about The Somme (I presume the EP’s title is a 1916 reference, as the Fourth Army took 57,470 casualties on the first day of The Somme), or maybe it’s just a quirky, weird opening that could’ve been cut.
King & Country seems more promising; a strong verse of gripping riffs and deadpan classic rock vocals set the track up to be an immense number. Cut to the chorus however, and you’ll find a bunch of cliched lyrics delivered with half the enthusiasm they need to create the impact intended. Not only is, “I’m having a blast, I hope that it lasts”, unoriginal, it’s also painful for how overwhelming dull it is.
Continuing the releases theme with Somme, the band pick things up with the return of engaging riffs, though the contrast of harsh and clean vocals never quite seems to fit. As Nineteen | Sixteen progresses little seems to vary, moments of riffage brilliance being interspersed with sharp vocal cuts, though things do seem to pick up and it become easier to see why The Dropper’s Neck have previously been so talked about.
Monster proves to be another weak link unfortunately, as despite it possibly being my personal favourite off the EP, it feels very much like Royal Blood got rid of all of their uniqueness and tried to make classic rock, with the lyrical similarity doing nothing to dissuade from this. Closing Stutter neatly ends the release with the vocals finally meshing and making an impressive statement. If you listen to one song off the record, make it Stutter.
I like and respect what The Dropper’s Dead have done by running the theme of The Battle of The Somme through the record, but it feels a little over done and forced in places. Maybe if the record had been cut to four tracks (as WWI lasted four years, and The Somme lasted four months), the novelty wouldn’t have been stretched so thinly. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s worth a listen nonetheless.
Watch the video for Line Me Up For The Firing Squad below.