Pontypridd rockers Straight Lines are still relatively new to most people’s ears; but for a band who formed less than 4 years ago, they are already packing a punch in regards to interesting material and live shows. The lads have so far supported a plethora of artists including Motorhead, Kids In Glass Houses, Funeral For A Friend and The Subways, and with two full length album releases under their belts (Persistance in this Game and Freaks Like Us) it is hard to see why these guys are not huge yet; but hopefully 2013 will be their year.
With only one new track on the new Escapology EP, many may argue if this is an EP or more of a re-release to cushion the gap between previous album Freaks Like Us and their next album. However, even if it is purely a release to fill that hole; it is still an extremely strong one which is bound to remind fans of how good these guys are and help to grow their fan base.
New track Escapology is the first on here and is a striking anthem with all the catchiness that it could work its way into anyone’s head. Chugging guitars, fast paced rhythms and distorted vocals all compliment this energetic track, which hits me as a bit of a cross between Muse and Coheed and Cambria, with a hint of Biffy Clyro thrown in for good measure. In your face and epic, this track would be right at home on a film soundtrack, as well as on the radio or live.
Second track Empty Chest has been lifted straight from Freaks Like Us and is perfect to show new fans how these guys usually rock out. This track is heavy with a dark, moody bass line, throbbing drums and dirty, intense riffs. Meanwhile, front man Thomas Jenkins resorts to his hardcore best, vocally blending his own special mix of gentleness and shrieking. Punchy and passionate, this is also addictively catchy like the first track.
Next up the lads have opted for a live version of Half Gone (also from Freaks Like Us). This is a slightly mellower track in terms of pace, but does not lack any of the passion of either of the previous tracks. The only disappointment I find here is that it is extremely similar to the recorded version on the last album. It would’ve been nice to maybe hear a different arrangement to mix things up a bit, but this is so similar to their original release that they may as well have used that.
Despite disappointment with the live recording of Half Gone, track four on Escapology EP makes up for this. It is a beautifully chilled out acoustic version of Ring The Bells and shows just how talented Straight Lines are in terms of song writing, as this track sounds both fantastic heavy or as this softer counterpart. For this version, the band have totally stripped back instrumentation to the purest bare bones of a twinkling guitar and piano accompaniment, with beautiful heartfelt harmonies between frontman Thomas and young Welsh singer/songwriter Miriam Issac. Although all together subtle, this works well to create a truly magical performance of this song which will send shivers down your spine.
This EP provides a nice introduction to Straight Lines for somebody that hasn’t heard any of their previous releases; whereas for established fans, new track Escapology provides a little taste of a more mature side to this already fantastic band and leaves you wanting more. If it is anything like this, I look forward to hearing the next album!