Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Floodhounds - 'Look What You Started' Review

Who used to play Pro Evo - sorry, PES - 2009?

It was probably the last in the series before the FIFA games really took over as the definite standard bearer for football sims. I played it quite a lot for a while and on hearing opener, and lead single, A&E I was immediately taken back to one or two of the Indie tracks from the in-game playlist. Whether that's a good thing or not is largely up to the listener's personal taste but it is immediately clear that while there is a large audience for this sort of retro-ish indie, this band is ready to be heard by it. One gets the feeling this song did not take a lot of work to get from original inception to finished piece. That's not to say it comes across as a quick throwaway track, rather that it is the product of a band who know what they're doing and it all comes together rather seamlessly.

All the above continues with State of Mind. It was only after listening to the EP a couple of times that I looked up the band to get some background (a deliberate decision so as to not have any preconceptions going into it). No surprise at all, at that point, to find out that these guys hail from Sheffield. There's a familiar sound routed in Sheffield Indie that is most apparent in this second track. I've heard quite a lot of this going way back to the early/mid 'noughties' (I hate that term but it will have to suffice) to varying standards. Over the years a lot of bands have tried to recreate the sounds of the likes of Futureheads or The Fratellis or Razorlight or whatever Indie trend they like at a given time and it sounds forced. Others naturally produce material that just fits the genre they slot into. I'd say Floodhounds come under the latter category.

If this EP were a live set then track 3 - The Fear - would be the point at which an audience would begin to get involved. It's a little change in direction to a fun, short, punchy effort with a jaunty rhythm. There's still time for an instrumental, a voice and drum breakdown and a guitar solo to finish, meaning it is compact and complete.

I don't know if a lot of thought went into the order of the tracklisting but I think Floodhounds have got it exactly right. Soulmates to Cellmates follows with an enjoyable hook and although it is again short and follows a similar structure, it has a different sound and acts as an appropriate bridge into...

End of the Road, which is a real head-bopper with a bit of a rock edge. It's easy to imagine that in a live setup, it could really take off here and there is a textbook use of instrumental breakdown and build-up into final chorus. The most exciting number on the EP.

Greatest Mistake is a bona fide closer - appropriately stripped back to begin with, bursting to life for the first chorus, dropping back and picking up again before a series of movements into a quiet semi-chorus finish. Throughout, the bass and guitar complement each other, taking turns in adding little flourishes and the lyrics are philosophical, akin to the old adage 'It's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't' as it is proclaimed 'the greatest mistake is to make none at all'.

It would also be a mistake to dismiss this as a set of run-of-the-mill indie songs. It's actually quite an achievement to get the variety Floodhounds have within the confines of a recognisable, coherent genre. The fact that I have rarely mentioned specific vocal, bass, guitar or drum parts is also testament to the unit - the whole EP portrays a togetherness that enhances the whole rather than draws attention to anyone vying for the limelight. Competency over showboating, substance over inappropriate stylising.

After first listen I thought this EP was decent. Second time round I became more positive and as the songs have become more familiar it's fair to say I quite like them.

Score: 3.5/5

Floodhounds are:

Jack Flynn -Guitars/Vocals
Rhys Owen - Bass/Vocals
Lauren Greaves - Drums

EP: Look What You Started, out now and available on iTunes and Spotify


State Of Mind
The Fear
Soulmates To Cellmates
End Of The Road
Greatest Mistake

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Written by:  Magz aka Bint McLinsky

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