EP Review: Us The Band With ‘But Where Do They Go’
Marking the first release of 2016 for Sydney record label Rice Is Nice, ‘But Where Do They Go’ is also the debut EP of Sydney newcomers Us The Band. The duo of Jesse Bayley and Nick Mabbitt make relentless and loud garage punk, taking inspiration from Cloud Nothings, Hüsker Dü, and Thee Oh Sees, while being “spiritually inspired” by Hot Chocolate. The EP is released tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 19th and we were lucky enough to have a listen before it drops.
The opening track HelterMan eases you into the EP, with a soothing, fuzzy guitar riff and simple drums. But, with an echoing howl, the song’s tempo suddenly jumps up a notch. Taking you from shoulder sways straight to brain-rattling head-banging, you quickly get an idea of what they’re all about. The track is essentially a short instrumental opener, but acts almost as the EP’s mission statement.
There I Go doesn’t have the same pretences, this is a noise/garage punch in the face from start to finish. There’s a slight tempo dip in the middle of the song, almost like its giving the listener (and the band) a much needed chance to catch their breath. Jesse’s vocals really come to the fore, with an almost pained element noticeable through his abandoned howls.
The next track Joiner Group feels very similar to There I Go, but that’s possibly the fault of listening to them in quick succession. The same guitar reverb creates an overwhelming sound and the loose, hammering percussion keeps you well and truly hooked in. Their very reminiscent of New Zealand group Die! Die! Die!, with the same howling, relentless vocals and reckless abandon at the heart of their songs.
Next up is their most recent single, Ghoul, a garage charmer with a very catchy chorus. The solid drumming from Nick can sometimes get lost behind the reverb and piercing vocals, but it’s really what holds these tracks together. But there seems to be a nice harmony between guitarist and drummer, which is quite hard to achieve in a two-piece. They duo formed as a salvage mission from a previous band together, with the idea for Us The Band starting from one discarded track. They must be pretty thankful, because that track has led them to a winning formula.
Their track Fallout has more punk hallmarks than the other songs. It goes harder and faster, is that’s even possible, with Jesse spitting the vocals out over the catchy guitar riff. It feels like there’s a lot of anger behind the track, with the raw emotion giving it a searing, powerful atmosphere.
The 7 track EP almost passes too quickly, with Harcher seeming to finish before it even begins. Their short and sweet track length is reminiscent of hardcore punk-rockers Clowns, who also prescribe to “the shorter the better” motto. There’s nothing wrong with the choice, and with the intensity of their sound, it’s probably a more listener-friendly option.
The closing track And I Will was the first single from the EP, and acts as the perfect sign off, with the lines “yeah I will, get outta here!” echoing in your head. ‘But Where Do They Go’ is a striking introduction to the band, with their clearly defined sound making an impressively memorable mark. It won’t fail to get your head moving from the get-go; with the relentless fuzz, impassioned vocals and DIY garage charm creating a powerful and brilliant debut offering from the duo.