Review: Above Them- Water Lane (Specialist Subject)

Posted: January 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

Water Lane cover art

Hailing from West Yorkshire in the UK, Above Them play a style of music that’s part grunge, part indie rock, and part melodic punk. Blending these, you get something that’s guitar-driven, not quite as heavy as grunge, full of melodic sensibility and emotional urgency. The songs are generally mid-tempo, which is fine, but I wish there was a little more variety here, and a little more energetic power. But I hear plenty of current SoCal pop punk influence from this UK band. Some of the songs do stand out, though, like “We’re All Going Down,” which reminds me of one of my current favorite bands, Western Settings, though with less gruff vocals. It’s got a powerful emo-ish melodic punk sound, which I really love. “Old Roots” moves seamlessly through pretty pop-punk sounding music, through Americana-tinged sounds (from a UK band?) and through old-school emo, for a track that’s pretty cool. “Broken Bones” has elements that remind me of LA’s Gentlemen Prefer Blood, another good band. And the short, quiet opener, “Theories of Planned Behavior,” is quite pretty, with vocals laid bare over a single simple guitar. The bulk of the songs, though, while good, don’t quite grab me so much. I think part of the issue is that the songs try to stay “in the middle,” that is, not too hard, not too poppy, not too emo, so they don’t get labeled a certain way. The result, for some of these songs, is that they end up sounding just a bit “middle-of-the-road.”

Paul Silver

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