Review; Frown EP
Frown are a new emo/punk/post-hardcore four-piece from the east coast of Scotland. The band played their very first show at The Twa Tams in Perth on Friday 21st February alongside Last Of Us and The Recovery. Their self-titled and self-released EP that was released that same night provides us with four strong tracks of very well produced harmony-laden melodic rock bangers. The CD itself comes in a printed cardboard sleeve with a full lyric sheet and artwork. The EP is also available for digital download.
Opening track “Cold Season” kicks off with the fizz and energy of early Idlewild with guitars popping off against each other and the big vocals of David Bryceland, not entirely dissimilar to those of John Harcus of PMX/Last Of Us. The song has a stomper of a chorus and has a touch of an epic metal feel to it, structurally, with it’s considered mid-section and guitar interplay, before the twin vocals kick back in and the song takes off towards its end. Drummer Michael, formerly of Canadian punks Blackjacket, underpins the whole thing with some heavy floor tom work and well placed kicks. Much as Kev wouldn’t agree, there’s definitely a bit of the old Fleetwood Mac about some of the squealing guitars too 😉
“A Broken Man” kicks in with some Hot Water Music-esque guitar work before snapping into a more traditional rapid hardcore beat as the lead vocals of Kevin Thomson take flight. The song reminds me of bands like Daytrader if they’d been raised in Nowheresville, Scotland as opposed to the Atlantic coast. The song screams frustration and home town blues, delivered with passion and a sense of desperation. Morgan Nicol’s solid bass work holds the whole thing together with some heavy heads down riffage that brings some grit alongside the polish.
“American Werewolf” starts with more duelling guitars before settling down into the groove for the verse, once again led vocally by David Bryceland. The song starts off evoking the memory of Thrice before things break down to a Joy Division-like moment of introspection. Then the hi-hats open up and guitars fly once again and the harmony-fuelled chorus soars.
The final track, “Under Hot Son” is my personal favourite. I think it features the meatiest of all the impressive guitar playing throughout the EP and the riff before the vocals kick in is just sublime. Vocally, there are echoes of The Killers at their sky-scraping euphoric best. There’s undeniable emotion in the guitars too, they seem to stir something in my black heart, like the first time I had my head scrambled by Balance and Composure.
Overall, this is a very impressive and promising first release from a band who sound like they know exactly what it is they are going for. The record is heavy without being forced, emotional without being contrived and accessible without being throwaway pop. This is assured, confident songwriting with a big sound and quality delivery that easily matches up to the biggest and best of modern post-hardcore/emo. With shades of early 00s pop-punk and early 90s grunge/metal, Frown are students of the game.