This isn’t exactly Everything On Red’s first rodeo. They’ve been playing their brand of fast and furious punk rock for the past six years. However, this is their longest record yet, having previously released just (or should I say, predominately) EPs and mini-albums. (NOTE: It has come to my attention that this is incorrect, but all my hours of web trawling didn’t come up with tracklistings yesterday. I fail, but trust me, I’m about to make up for it.) It’s a big change in modus operandi, and arguably, with Satellites comes great change. The keyboards are gone. There’s no gimmicks to be found in Satellites, but instead, there’s a band with a message to deliver – and they are not to be ignored.
At first, I was a bit sceptical. I really like synths and ditching a signature element of your sound completely is a risky move. Opening track and lead single ‘Quoth The Raven’ certainly had me quite excited – a fast paced punk paralyser filled with rollicking good riffs and a chorus to die for – and it’s clear that Everything On Red haven’t lost their knack for killer harmonies either. By the time I got to ‘Tooth And Nail’, I had completely forgotten that they had used keyboards at all in their career. It’s extremely difficult to pick a standout track from the ten belters on offer, but ‘Tooth And Nail’ is potentially it; while Satellites isn’t an overtly political album, ‘Tooth And Nail’ perfectly sums up the discontent of 21st century Britain through frenetic, furious vocals and intelligent lyrics. ‘If I Had A Hi-Fi’ does much the same, with some groovy bass and a Zebrahead inspired chorus. Almost every song on Satellites has one fantastic bit that you want to cling onto and scrawl all over your notebooks/arms/face – in title track ‘Satellites’, it’s ‘Please comprehend that this love lives like violence’, in ‘We Belong This Way’, it’s the sudden burst into a desperately chanted ‘WE BELONG!’. And then there are the moments that you can’t write down, but the ones that inspire you to do a Judd Nelson fist pump there and then, like James Rathnell’s superb drumming on the aforementioned ‘We Belong This Way’. There’s too many gems to point out in one review, as much as I would love to just compile a list of every single little bit that I loved about this record. But this is an album that you want to explore every single facet of; on the surface, it’s great sounding music, but with every listen, you uncover something new and bold and thoroughly exciting.
Everything On Red have certainly grown as songwriters; everything is timed just right and each track fits into the album effortlessly. Satellites is far more polished than previous efforts and this new clarity just amplifies their brilliance even more. This is the essential British punk rock album of the year – miss it at your peril.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!