Before audiences lost them to radio silence for half a decade as they focused on the writing of their début album ‘Threads,’ Irish quintet Scream! Shout! seemed to have already cemented their sound over the course of two EPs:- ‘Scream! Shout! Say Nothing’ (2006) and ‘The Animals Still Run This City’ (2008). Eluding definitive labelling, their sound comprised the patient build-ups of post-rock, the raw emotionality of emo with the occasional dip into metal-esque levels of heaviness. While these releases were evidence of a band with ideas, they also betrayed the need for better containment, a skill young bands so often lack and one that Scream! Shout! appear to have mastered during their long exile.
In comparison, ‘Threads’ showcases how much the Irishmen have sharpened their early tools into weapons of aural pleasure. Indeed, the past five years evidently haven’t eroded the core identity of the band, and have instead allowed them to mature and, most importantly, find that necessary focus. No longer do they need resort to expansive (perhaps even self-indulgent, at times) 7+ minute track lengths, their delivery swifter without compromising any of their exciting ideas. The heavier sections of 5 years ago have largely disappeared, but those were arguably superficial in the first place. The result is a more coherent and accessible listen.
Here’s the pitch. Softly, a clean guitar resonates, soon joined by emotionally-inflected vocal tones that acute fans might trace back to influences of the Hundred Reasons/Hell Is For Heroes school of voice. As measured-pace makes way for cymbals, soft vocal textures turn to that typically British brand of strained shouting, and a troupe of comrades soon provide bromantic backing vocals. The track shifts in dynamics until its heavier finale. ‘Sister You Don’t Know What Rough Is’ has just emphatically opened the record. ‘A Hush And A Heavy Hand’s angular crunchy guitars and shouted vocals channel a British At The Drive-In, and ‘Threads’ takes a more conventional indie-rock route, revealing a versatility that the band previously lacked. Assuredly, nothing ever reaches the heights of the opening track and, on occasion, some tracks are allowed to linger a little too long, as evidence repeatedly suggests that the band are eminently more successful when striving for urgency.
‘Threads’ expands on what the band had built 7 years back, but successfully dispel many of their previous EPs’ youthful missteps, making way for a much better band. Stylistically, Scream! Shout! have convincingly found their voice, but while there are a handful of great moments and a couple of genuinely great tracks, they now only require better consistency at churning out tracks like their opener. The band impress with their progress, and there is little doubt that they will progress further and deliver what many know them to be capable of. Until then, enjoy the inspiring moments available here.
‘Threads’ by Scream Shout is available now on Scylla Records.
Words by James Berclaz-Lewis (@swissbearclaw)