Montroze are a UK pop punk outfit based in the south-west of the country, and they’re on the cusp of releasing their third EP, Escape. It’s another song outfit, and the band have proved before that this is a winning formula for them. Can they do it again?
The EP is bookended by its self titled tracks Escaping and Escaping Part II. Escaping begins with a swift guitar riff before launching in full-bodied with a very polished sound. The bass especially holds a brilliant tone, perceivable as a strong backbone through the lighter guitars. The chorus intones ‘It gets better than this! You’ll be alright kid, don’t let it get you down, remember you can do this now’, and it feels great.
Shameful You is Montroze‘s lead single for Escape, and it boasts another meteoric chorus. The song looks back at a past friend or relationship, laying out the singer’s rightful suspicion. It’s good to see Montroze bringing out a narrative rather than falling foul of the pop punk tendency to rely on a few big hooks. There’s some tasteful vocal layering here too, with a harsher backing voice amplifying the climax of the song.
The band proceed to bring in an acoustic number in Contemplation. It’s a chance for Jason Bishop’s vocals to come to the fore, and they rise to the occasion. In terms of musical and lyrical content, this song doesn’t go too far to push the boat out; but considering this is a slightly longer release than most EPs it is nice to have a stylistic break.
Break is a brief intermediary track featuring some noodling guitar work that flows into the penultimate track Pages of a Different Book. It’s one of the finest songs on the EP with a more measured structure. The track builds up to a punchy peak with some interesting drum fills leading the song along.
Escaping Part II brings us back to the wanderlust-ridden core of this record, and the chorus lines from the start of the EP come echoing back in with a nice sense of closure. That said, it’s acoustic this time around, so there’s a worthwhile difference here.
With Escape, Montroze have taken an important step up. Rather than producing a selection of competent songs, the band have crafted a proficient record that weaves through its breadth with a purpose. These songs sound wonderful on the EP, and you can expect them to come spring to life on stage too.