arrowcat (lower case please, Microsoft Word) is the reincarnation of Fourth Wave, a ska band formed at Warwick University. For all intents and purposes, it’s the same band with a far less presumptuous name. Nevertheless, they’ve released their new EP right at the beginning of 2012, and if we’re all going to die like the Mayans say we are, this is probably a good idea; it means as much exposure as possible. Because after all, when the end comes, wouldn’t we rather be skanking?
The EP starts with Look Inside, which kicks off the release with a bang. Some epic brass and guitar solos at the beginning lead us into Alex’s soulful vocals. They work well – the band aren’t exactly ska punk, so there’s no need for the aggressive rasp of Itch or Chris from Less Than Jake. That’s not to say that those punk influences aren’t there; there’s some pretty punk-as-fuck solos and riffs scattered throughout the EP. However, the band aren’t afraid to reach out to some of the other spheres ska has touched, such as dub and even prog. Woah.
Round about track three, Run, the EP loses a bit of momentum, which is a shame considering its blinder of a start. Run is probably the weakest song overall – it’s not bad and has some great guitar, but around the middle, it lacks a lot of the intensity which I’ve seen from arrowcat under their previous guise. It does build up quite well towards the end, but the brass could be a bit more forceful, much like it is on London Sky, instead of just underlying. However, once it moves onto Modern Ways, that dub sound comes creeping in and turns that laidback feel into something with real purpose.
I have the feeling that this is an EP firmly crafted with a live performance in mind. Even finishing track, Leviathan, with its totally killer proggy bits would sound ace live. Everything’s kicked up a notch in Leviathan, following the firm “first and last song must win” ethos, and it becomes one of the most skankable songs on the album.
It’s a great new start for arrowcat and no doubt, they’ll be round and about the Midlands any time soon. Although this time, probably not trying to start a new wave of ska, because after all, possibility of the apocalypse and all. I don’t doubt there’ll be trombone foot solos though.
3.5 out of 5 high fives!