Northern Irish alt-rockers Brand New Friend follow up their debut LP, ‘Seatbelts for Aeroplanes’ with their latest EP, ‘A Cure for Living’. 7 tracks packed with youthful exuberance and frantic punk-rock energy.
The EP starts as it means to go on with track, ‘She Always Comes Up Smiling’. Here the use of keyboards creates the overall pop-indie tones that permeate the remainder of the EP, whilst lyrically the track displays a sense of youthful hope as well as the melancholia that comes with our teenage years. Think along the lines of ‘Oh Yeah’ by Ash.
Following on from this is the EP’s lead single, ‘The Letter A’. This leads in with a rougher, more punk-rock tinged guitar sound that is wonderfully accompanied by pounding drumbeats. This is only emphasised by the slightly distorted delivery by joint vocalist Taylor Johnson. This sound is further exemplified in following track, and latest single, ‘Stop The Days’. This track exemplifies the ‘summer playlist’ factor that Brand New Friend create with their sound. Here, complete with very Stroke’s-esque guitar sounds, the track creates a soaring sound that again dances beautifully with the vocal delivery, in a deliberate juxtaposition to the melancholic lyrical nature.
‘Nothing Stays the Same’, leads in with a tender acoustic intro which makes the sudden turn into rip-roaring rock ‘n’ roll all the more effective. The chorus of the track serves to be nothing short a cathartic release, with pure punk rock being exemplified. The more tender parts of the track are highlighted by the joint vocal deliveries by both Taylor and sister Lauren Johnson which push the track into its more heartfelt moments.
Breaking away from the punk fueled sound of the album is track, ‘You Can’t Know Everything, I Don’t Know Anything’. This slow, heart-wrenching acoustic number tells the tale of youthful heartbreak and loss, it proves to be a breath of fresh air within the context of the album as well as showcasing a more tender side to the group.
Closing out the EP is, ‘Plastic Flowers’. This track builds itself on a solid bass line that powers through the track, along with pounding drumbeats creating a clear sense of atmosphere. The addition of guitar as well as the multiple vocal tracks serve to give the chorus of the track a truly grandiose feeling which explodes in the climax of the track and ends the EP on a high. ‘A Cure For Living’ re-enforces the ability Brand New Friend have when it comes to writing captivating, catchy indie-punk songs. It is an EP that adds an air of summertime musical brightness into an otherwise dark cold February. Be it harder punk tracks or tender acoustic numbers, ‘A Cure For Living’ is a shining example of the modern indie-rock landscape.