Fronted by the omnipresent Luke Rainsford (also of Fullshore and his own solo acoustic material), Midlands pop punkers Layover are one of the few bands that seem to take up a support slot on just about every small UK pop punk show at the moment, and needless to say this has led to a pretty developed style with a clear individual identity in their recorded music too. This sound has culminated in the release of their second EP, titled Clarity, the follow up to 2015’s What Little We Have Left.
Opener Ignorant sets the tone fantastically for the record with fast, punk drumming beats and guitar riffs to match. The lead guitar creates a complexity to the lines here that is almost reminiscent of Wishful Thinking-era Neck Deep. Luke’s clean vocal abilities make the pop element of the track lead from the front to make it a catchy and emotive piece. This is followed through with second track Better Off as the lyrics bring the harsh reality of being “so much better off without you” to the attention of the listener, as well as the emotions that come with it. The dichotomy of loving someone but being better off without them is an underlying theme of Layover‘s lyrics throughout and they explore it constantly.
Middle track Pigments is the standout track of the EP, with a simple 4 chord intro leading into a more complex riff-led second intro and a quieter, single-guitar third intro which goes to show the diversity of Jack and Dominic’s playing abilities. The drums are heavily played and cymbal-heavy which create a haze across the fuzz of the guitars and dynamic range of the vocals. Transparent then creates a nice follow-on with a more heavy feel to progress through from the more pop end, and this track features more unclean vocals from Luke which bring home the emotion of the record and display the anger as he frames the sung lyrics “get over yourself”.
Closing track Clarity sums up the whole record really: quiet intro, punchy riff with heavily played drums and strong bass to back up the tuneful vocals that turn gruff around the more anger-fuelled lyrics in parts. Overall then, Clarity is a very good effort to follow up from all their touring across the UK and very promising for the future.