Leagues Apart

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

Written by: TL on 12/09/2014 19:42:36

Granted, PP and I have only been to FEST the once so far, but from our experience it's safe to say that it's a requirement for you to like your melodic punk rock if you want to go to there, seeing as over fifty percent of the bands there sound so alike that even seasoned fans of the genre might have trouble telling them apart in a pinch. It's all the more remarkable then, when one such band makes an impression that lasts and sticks out when thinking back to the festival, as did the British visitors in Leagues Apart, who sadly didn't have an album out at the time so one could go home and catch up properly. Fortunately this was remedied this year, when the Manchester quartet put out "Brief Intervies With Hideous Men" with so little fanfare that I almost didn't notice it.

Eventually I did however, and that's a good thing, because it allows me to tell you of a twelve track record that should be a properly satisfying listen for any fan of straight up punk rock with catchy hooks and coarse vocals. The band lists scene favourites like The Lawrence Arms, The Flatliners, Off With Their Heads, Nothington and Dillinger Four among their influences, but to their credit listeners are not required to have dug even that deep into the genre to appreciate "Brief Interviews". The raw, beer-soaked vocals sound enough like they were raised on a diet of Rancid, and while the guitars often engage in harmonic chord patterns that bring the likes of Millencolin to mind, the lyrics come through with a clarity that's unusual for the genre, meaning that there's plenty of lines for the mind to latch onto.

Truly though, the record is perhaps too much of a typical punk-production for Leagues Apart to have emerged with quite as much noticeably personality in their sound, as any of the bands referenced. Instead they sound like a good blend of all of them. The mood of their songs is mostly light, often sounding like the material was intentionally written to be relatable and singable in many a small-scale bar venue, yet things are spiced up with some more felt passages here and there, which I think could have helped the band sound even more engaging had they been integrated more. There's a certain charm to the band's matter-of-factly approach to things though, especially when you begin to observe that the album could rival a radio chart for all the consistent vocal hooks it has.

Particularly around the middle, the record tends to greet you welcome back with songs like "The Confessions Of Howard Campbell Jr.", "Winston Kingdom" and "Penelope Booze Cruise". The comparatively high doze of urgency that sends the listener off on closer "To Know The Night Is To Live In It Forever" is deceptively remarkable as well, and in the surrounding material, even if the hooks don't get you interested at first, humorous song titles like "Rampant Horse Is Rampant", or "I Thought You Meant Wales The Country" might just. Overall, Leagues Apart might need to build a bit more around their emotive moments (there's room to do so without turning into an emo band boys), if they want to make a standout punk-record for the ages, but so far, they show enough with "Brief Interviews" to give me the feeling that people who listen to it will be properly surprised when realising how much of it they can sing back, should they catch the band live.

Download: To Know The Night Is To Live In It Forever, Winston Kingdom, In Spite Of It All
For The Fans Of: Rancid, Millencolin, Banner Pilot, Off With Their Heads
Listen: facebook.com/leaguesapart

Release date 28.04.2014
Cats Aye!? / All In Vinyl

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