SO-CRATES (we believe that’s the right casing for their name) are a band made up of musicians you’re bound to recognise if you’ve been to a gig in Hampshire or Surrey over the past decade and a half. We fondly remember the likes of Reuben and Hold Your Horse Is so to hear about a project involving members of both made us very eager to hear SO-CRATES. And then there’s the name. Any Bill and Ted reference is great by us. Just a shame the songs didn’t continue the trend – ‘Station’ and ‘Rufus’ could have been amazing…
Anyway, onto the EP (or is it a mini-album? With seven songs, it’s always hard to decide) and ‘V1’ opens with the dirty riffage of ‘I Got Turned Around In Here’. Melodic but loud, Robin Pearson talks about how ‘We shout and scream and shatter and break’ during a musical breakdown and then tells you with authority: ‘Let’s find out where we are’. Fast, frenetic and with the guitars turned up, the stop-start nature makes it an ear-pricking opening. Following hot on the heels of this is ‘A Single Word’, a song that menacingly combines the post-punk vibes of Eagulls with the irresistible hooks of Manchester Orchestra. However, this is all surrounding some very angry lyrics. ‘It’s gone on far too long to be a joke’ opens the song and this statement is quickly followed up by the words ‘I thought it was perfect but it’s not to be. Lack of faith in this company’ and then an authoritative ‘you’re insufferable’.
‘Change Your Ways’ has elements of The Bronx but with extra high-pitched guitar before it culminates in a repeated, spoken-word order of its title. ‘Paused on a Crossfade’ pitches into a more math-rock territory before delivering a powerful finale and then ‘The Issue’ is altogether more reflective in its theming (‘I’m sick of talking. I’m tired of writing around the issue’) although this is laced in Future of the Left-esque noise. The brilliantly named ‘Stoked’ is a frenetic three and a half minutes which rather unsettlingly describes how ‘you never know when you might choke’ and the final song, ‘Waiting to Happen’, is full of punk-rock attitude amongst its huge-sounding guitar, brooding bass and commanding drums. Robin sings about how ‘you walk in circles with the moonlight on your skin’, asks ‘what are you waiting for?’ over and over again while also stating ‘you’re one of us’ – and with this EP, we’re more than happy to join the crew.
Download ‘V1’ from Bandcamp now.