Not everyone is a fan of the EP, but for a new artist it gives them the chance to put out a body of work, it may be just a snapshot of where they are currently as an artist, but it helps them to grow and find their footing. Allowing them the ability to progress as they nurture their craft and experiment with different ideas, so when the time comes that they work on their LP, they are confident and ready to take that next step.
As Elephants Are – Hand Prints
‘Hand Prints’ is the début EP from Buckinghamshire band, As Elephants Are. Collectively, As Elephants Are are a young band, but within their infancy lies a deep understanding of the nitty gritty emotions that weigh us down in life. The band have eloquently strung together an EP of indie pop and alternative rock, weighted with feelings of melancholy and burden, which soon dissipate into euphoria of soaring vocal harmonies, triumphant trumpets and searing guitars.
Wolf Alice – Creature Songs
The EP opens with ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ snarling and raging with just the right amount of glamour and grit, only soured by the defeating blow of heartache. ‘Creature Songs’ is the band’s most assured work to date, leading us next onto the band’s début LP which is due out in 2015.
Wolf Alice at just the touch of a guitar pedal can go from delicately resting on a pin drop introspection to pleasing sonic chaos, which couldn’t be displayed any better than in second track ‘Storms’. Wolf Alice both charm and bewilder you in the space of a minute, not an easy feat to achieve.
Prides – The Seeds You Sow
Glasgow-based trio Prides made the best first impression with their début EP, elegantly marking their territory out with title track ‘The Seeds You Sow’. A superbly addictive synth pop romp, only marred by the melancholy of the breakdown of a relationship.
The lyricism in a Prides song is just as powerful, if not more effecting than the melody. What we are tasked with are vibrant, non-stop pulsing rhythms acting like adrenaline for the limbs, making it uncontrollable – you have to dance, you have to move. There’s no standing still when listening to a Prides song. Then you’ve got Stewart Brock’s vocal, like a sucker punch to the heart. He conveys so much emotion within every line, every lyric it’s hard not to fall completely and totally in love with his voice. And on top of that, you’ve got the mighty ‘Messiah’ – a gift in itself. No one, I repeat no one, can say that if this song came on to the PA they wouldn’t get up and dance along to it or even have a cheeky sing-a-long to it. I mean it’s just too enticing.
The EP may only be three tracks long but those three tracks make up eleven minutes of pure joy – never-ending hooks, vocal lines that will make you dizzy with excitement and power chords that make you want to dance like its 1989.
James Bay – Let It Go
Taking lead from the ‘Demo’s EP’ earlier in the year, James Bay gave us his first release that features a full band on the recordings. The ‘Let It Go’ EP, finally made Bay’s dream of a fuller, more realised sound a reality. The EP mixes Bay’s remarkable songwriting skills with the soulful punch of Americana and blues but with the immediacy of a pop song., making it impossible to take your ears off it.
Bay can capture a moment, a memory, a feeling in such a way that as a listener you can’t help but feel beholden to it. The song in a way becomes yours also. It’s that deep emotional connection that Bay nurtures with the listener, that you might say is the reason why he sells out tour after tour, is being tipped by every major music critic and is 2015’s recipient of the Brits Critics Choice Award.
Trampolene – Alcohol Kiss
From turbulent opener ‘Alcohol Kiss’ to the spoken word of ‘Artwork of Youth’, a candid retelling of singer Jack Jones’ past, the EP shows us how versatile and frankly, exciting Trampolene are as a band. Half of the EP is a high-voltage, fast, adrenaline fuelled ride then the second half showcases their softer side, with acoustic ballads ‘Foolish and Hungry’ and ‘Red Sky Sings’ but don’t be fooled both still are sharp toothed and witty, only sweetened by their sentimentality.
There’s something endearing about Jones’ vocal delivery that feels slightly detached yet completely present. You can’t help but be drawn to him as a frontman, the troubled complexity to his lyrics and voice just makes you want to discover the songs on a deeper level.
Charlie Cunningham – Outside Things
‘Outside things’ is one of those EP’s that always puts a smile on my face at the very thought of it. The one thing that must be said first about Charlie Cunningham that as an artist, he is one a kind. I still find myself in awe every time I see him live or listen to one of his songs, the way he leaves you transfixed at just the sound of his voice and his guitar, there’s something very special at work there.
‘Outside Things’ is Cunningham’s début EP, but it’s not just your average acoustic strumming’s from a singer/songwriter who has decided to take up the guitar and publish their thoughts and feelings through song. No. What Cunningham brings to the table are songs that connect with people through an emotional resonance of helplessness and confusion, we bond over that feeling and try to move past it together. There’s something innocent and calming about Cunningham’s approach to writing and arranging a song, but it’s within that is where you find wisdom and sincerity.
Maybe what makes Cunningham stand out from the pack is his tangent for flamenco rhythms and melodies. Something possibly he can accredit to the time he spent studying guitar in Seville, but all I know for certain is that it’s given us this beautifully heart wrenching music and that is something to be very pleased about.
Many Things – What We Are
From the first listen it’s easy to understand that Many Things take their music seriously. Putting out an EP or any release for them isn’t something they do without considering it fully which you realise is true for ‘What We Are’. It’s a cohesive work of art from start to finish.
The intensity of emotion is rife throughout, from the heartbreaking serenade of ‘Chains’ to the euphoria of ‘Dear One’. We go through the good and the bad of a relationship from the deep throws of passion and infatuation to the breakdown and the eventual heartache that comes from the break-up.
‘What We Are’ makes itself vulnerable because it ventures into these places and these emotions and one thing to praise the band on is that it never loses the honesty of those feelings, it manages to be both proud and blunt at the same time without stripping away the initial sentiment. It’s a skill in itself, to turn feelings of sadness and heartache into something that’s essentially euphoric and hopeful, and that’s exactly what Many Things achieved with ‘What We Are’.