18 September, 2015

[EP REVIEW] - St. Buryan - White Noise EP

St. Buryan are a band I was introduced to some time late last year. At the time they had just three tracks, which, impressively, they'd recorded and mixed themselves. I saw them live twice last year in Newcastle and they were superb both times, a powerful set that encapsulated a lot of emotion into a short set.

Last week they released their d├ębut EP, White Noise, and I'm here to review it.


White Noise is a brilliant debut from the Newcastle five-piece, full of layered guitars and raw vocals that make it so enjoyable. Lyrically, as well, it's packed with sarcasm and wit as well as genuine emotion and thought. The one thing it lacks, in my opinion, is a truly anthemic rock song. The closest they come is probably Amaretto, where the hook is pure singalong goodness, but it could do with a truly huge rock song. That doesn't mean it isn't fun, or great to sing along too, I just think it misses that, which is why it's just an 8/10.

It opens on the short instrumental Crescent, which just sort of sets the scene. Think of it is as the opening paragraph to a novel, rather than the first chapter. It's nothing spectacular - it's quite understated - but it doesn't need to be. It's just a teaser for what's to come.

The second song, In The Rain, is a feel good song. It's the only one on there, really, but it's a gem. The titular lyric is a fantastic hook and one that's been stuck in my head from the first listen. The band describe themselves as Pop-Rock, but this one is certainly more pop than rock, despite the guitar solo, it's full of pop-inspired riffs and it's one of the more gentle, subtle songs on the EP.

Living the Nightmare is a hatchet-job of sorts; a direct, cutting song that can only be described as character assassination. It's dripping with the sarcasm that can only come with knowing all along. Musically, it's far punchier than In The Rain, and the weight is matched by the hard hitting lyricism, especially when the cymbal heavy drums crash in during the chorus to match the intensity of the guitars.

Fissure was a personal favourite of their old tracks, and the re-release doesn't let it down. It's emotional and downbeat, full of the angst that defines teenage love. To call it just an angsty love song would do it a disservice, however, as it's sophisticated and compelling in equal measure. Ben Mackett's vocals are superb, as always, but especially so on this track. It's not an easy one to sing, and yet he pulls it off with ease.

Another song that was released last year by the band is Eminence, one that has been remastered and to good effect too. This release is cleaner and more refined. It's one of the catchier songs on the EP, with the chorus being a easy one to learn and sing along to, but in my opinion it's probably the weakest song on the album. The riffs just don't capture the imagination and it doesn't really show you what the band is all about.

Titular track White Noise comes next, with it's potent, powerful chorus. Again the vocals are the star, especially in the chorus where they soar. Similarly to Living The Nightmare, it's clearly calling someone out, but it's less insulting and more just descriptive of the situation. It's quite muted in terms of the music, but it only highlights the brilliant vocals.

My Life is probably the heaviest song on the EP, and it's the most classic-style rock song. It's also very good, with the trademark vocals and layered guitars that seem to set the band apart. We've seen guitar music back on it's way in with bands like Palma Violets and Slaves, and My Life is a similar style to that guitar-heavy rock that seemed to go out of fashion for a while.

Finally, we have Amaretto, which I said had the most stadium-style chorus, and that's due to the endlessly catchy 'Amarett-ohhh-oh' chant in the chorus. It's another pop-style song, but that's no bad thing. It's like what would happen if Royal Blood merged with The Vamps - a slightly odd if enjoyable mix of guitar music and pop hooks. It's a really fun song and one of the highlights of a really good debut album.

I hope you enjoy this EP as much as I have. It's a blend of styles that works really well, and I think these guys deserve a lot more attention than they currently seem to get.

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