Opening with an itchy, trigger-finger guitar riff is always a good way to commence your debut EP. Following up with rolling drums and a flourish of vocals, at once novel and yet also eerily familiar, is a great way to continue – and that’s exactly what BERRIES provide on ‘Sirens’, the opening track on their debut EP Those Funny Things.
The band’s bio indicates that they take influence from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Biffy Clyro, and The Subways and, whilst the surface evidence points to the archetypal ‘power trio’ set up of vox/guitar-bass/drums, the combination of sparse, angular instrumentation and clean vocals is more evocative of early ’90s American indie, and acts such as The Breeders or Throwing Muses.
The three-piece’s indie-ish sensibility continues throughout the EP, with ‘quiet-loud-quiet’ second track ‘Waiting’ with it’s drum-break and squealing guitar solo middle-eight, and ‘Never Smiled Once’ is a mid-paced ballad with more of a rock undertone. ‘Lights’ evokes early 2000s mainstream indie acts (The Killers, The Bravery, without the synths), whilst closer ‘Written in Paint’ blends stomp and plaintive lyrics in a manner reminiscent of some of the slower early Ash numbers. Title track ‘Those Funny Things’ brings together all of the above – and is perhaps the most impressive song of the set.
So, that’s BERRIES, then – sweet, sharp, and capable of making an excellent jam.