River City Ransom [EP]

River City Ransom are a quintet from York who choose to describe themselves as “unique yet somehow familiar” – and their self-titled EP is evidence that they’re certainly striving towards that goal. At first glance, the music sounds like the same screamo/post-hardcore band you’ve heard so many times before, powerhouse vocals layered over thumping drums and fast-paced guitars. However, the clean vocals that weave through the tracks alongside the screams and some superbly written and played guitar mean they stand out from the crowd more than most – a definite recommendation for anybody who’s a fan of Alexisonfire, or those perhaps looking to upgrade to a heavier brand of A Day To Remember’s “pop-metal” stylings.

The stand-out track on the EP is opener This Day And Age – my personal favourite guitar work on the record and a chorus that’ll leave you singing for days afterwards. Third track Strength From The Sun provides another highlight, guaranteed to have you breaking out your air guitars, and the decision to alternate between screamed & clean vocals is great.

The only possible criticism of the band is a very small one – the EP does contain 5 great tracks, but there’s not much in the way of variety. While changing up sounds doesn’t always have to be a target for a band – U2 seem to have been playing the same song for decades and nobody seems to object – with their well-written lyrics, one wonders what would happen if the band decided to experiment with a slower acoustic track. But this is just an island of potential in an ocean of talent, and the band’s raw singalong power is undeniable (a testimony to the fact that they list the superb The Gaslight Anthem among their influences) and their energy on record is such that you imagine their live shows must be nothing less than spectacular.

RCR recently achieved their first major national airplay courtesy of new single “Great White Buffalo” being showcased on Alex Baker’s Unsigned show on Kerrang! Radio, signalling them as a band to watch out for in the future. Personally, I’ll be one of those keeping close tabs on the 5 piece – ready to say “I Told You So” when they explode.

4.5 out of 5 high fives!

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