With so much excellent new music being released every week it can be difficult to keep abreast of absolutely everything deserving of review. However, in the interest of giving as many artists as possible a fair crack of the whip, we have Under The Radar to highlight a handful of releases that may have passed you by.
For this edition of Under The Radar, we look at new releases from Deference, Sumo Cyco, The Dollyrots, Mathletics and Brightlight City.
Deference – False Awakening EP
Deference are another band to emerge from the exciting scene in Southampton and their second EP, ‘False Awakening’, makes for an accomplished slice of melodic metalcore. There’s all kinds of drama on display as their epic sound explores a man-made apocalyptic landscape of loss and desolation. We get pulsating electronics bubbling under the surface, a djent bend to the guitar sound and a pretty damn exciting vocal performance from front man Rob Lea. Although their influences are obvious enough, they seem to be striving to innovate on what is a nicely textured record with a cool balance between full on metal attack and atmospheric subtleties. Latest single ‘Departure’ is prime example as it neatly showcases what they’re all about. Expect to hear a lot more from these guys.
‘False Awakening’ EP by Deference is out now.
Sumo Cyco – Opus Mar
There is certainly a lot of enthusiasm on display on Sumo Cyco’s sophomore effort, ‘Opus Mar’. The heavy online presence of their energetic blend of driving pop and hard rock riffs has obviously struck a chord with a fan base that were happy to finance the project fronted by the one time teen pop sensation, Skye Sweetnam, now under the far more alternative name of ‘Sever’. Her pop pedigree means that she can deliver a tune and with the muscle of some scathing riffs there is certainly some appeal, songs like ‘Sleep Tight’ having the kind of frantic energy that could liven up an early afternoon festival slot. However the radio friendly electricity may prove a little too disposable for the alternative rock crowd; still, full marks for effort.
‘Opus Mar’ by Sumo Cyco is out now.
The Dollyrots – Whiplash Splash
If it’s good-time punk rock that floats your boat, then you could do a lot worse than the little slice of sunshine that is ‘Whiplash Splash the sixth album from The Dollyrots. Ok so they’re not going to win any prizes for pioneering spirit, but their straightforward riffing and penchant for a winning melody is an enjoyable listen and if it doesn’t get your head a noddin’ and your foot a tappin’ you are obviously dead inside. ‘Mermaid’ for instance, is as catchy a slice of good time pop-rock with a punky tilt as you are likely to hear, while the cover of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ brings this likeable record to a raucous close. Sandwiched in between are a whole bunch of fun tunes like the seriously groovy ‘Dance LiKe a Maniac’ – well worth checking out.
‘Whiplash Splash’ by The Dollyrots is out now on Arrested Youth Records.
Mathletics – Inside Noise EP
There is a certain quirky charm to this short but sweet selection from Mathletics, the emo/math hipster duo from Sheffield. Weighing in at a bus journey friendly eight and a half minutes and boasting just three tracks, ‘Inside Noise’ provides a brief but satisfying listen as it twists and turns its way through precise rhythms and engaging guitar melodies, with a surprisingly heartfelt tilt to the vocal, especially on the second half of opener A.S.W.W.F.Y.A. The slightly off beat optimism of all the tracks makes it strangely infectious, and on the title track, which closes the EP, all their little touches combine effectively with a versatile vocal and a nice guitar sound. With some more material and a bit of financial backing it’ll be interesting to see where they go.
‘Inside Noise’ by Mathletics is out now on Honeypot Records (UK) / Endless Bummer Records (U.S.A).
Brightlight City – Our Future’s Not Dead EP
This is an energetic selection of alternative rock from the Brit quintet Brightlight City, who have added some depth to there sound since 2015’s ‘Adventures’ EP. ‘Our Future’s Not Dead’ offers up four tracks ruminating on the pitfalls of modern life, ‘Leave a Light On’ being the most well put together, with its dark pop undertones, although ‘It Depends on You’ also rocks along with a catchy chorus. The whole thing is pretty slick sounding and I’m sure it will strike a chord with their faithful fanbase, but in an already overcrowded alternative rock scene it can be a bit of a struggle to make a meaningful impression. Even so, the Giarraputos obviously have some talent in their band, so with continued development and a little more daring on the songwriting front they could make a bigger impact further down the road.
‘Our Future’s Not Dead’ EP by Brightlight City is released on 7th April on Undead Collective Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)