Layover – Clarity [EP]

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.

Listen to the record and buy it here.

Luke Rainsford – I’m Nothing Like My Dad…

Birmingham native Luke Rainsford is infamous in the underground pop punk market for playing in or with practically every band around. A permanent member of Layover doing vocals and guitar in Fullshore, and having played drums for Coast To Coast, he has a wide variety of skills. He’s even played shows with Trash Boat‘s most recent support Weatherstate, so this lad gets around. On this record however, he throws away everything and everyone he holds dear to put out I’m Nothing Like My Dad Turned Out To Be, his debut solo release.
The record is a singer/songwriter project with elements of This Wild Life, the sense of humour of Lucy Spraggan and the self-deprecation of Charlie McDonnell, yet he manages to keep the style very much his own.
Vocally, Luke stays to his pop punk roots with an Anglicised accent verging on northern English that steers away from the generic American sickly-sweetness shown by so many artists in the modern market. The vocals are solid for most of the record with little pushing his range or going out of the comfort zone, yet somehow are fantastically effective and remain interesting for the whole album. The delivery draws clear and focused attention to the intelligently written lyrics, which leave a lasting impression.
In terms of lyrics then, the record is focused very much on Luke‘s teenage problems with women, a lack of confidence and alcohol. Luke is brutally honest with all three themes. With lines including “I treated her like shit, I’m not fucking proud of it” (Coffee) and “I guess that’s the end of being straight edge” (A Song About Alcohol), he definitely outlines the matters in a serious and almost concerning way, but can be hugely self-deprecating with his outlook too, as shown in I Am Pathetic with “I might not be poetic but oh god I am pathetic, I guess that’s close enough when it comes to writing lyrics” which always brings a smile. 
The standout track of the record is Lucid Dreams, which features Maddy Chaney, a friend of Luke’s. The guitar is very much a jazzy style and the vocal part could have been taken straight out of 60s swing album with its delicate yet confident sharps and flats scattered all over the place. Maddy’s voice brings fantastic warmth and adds to the feel as they sing about a long distance relationship. The song is reminiscent of the class of many of the acoustic artists in the chart these days, and shows just how far this young man can go.

Overall, a triumphant and catchy release that is deeper than it may appear at first listen. Luke is a man of many talents and he’ll be touring at some point near you for sure so check out the Facebook pages for his solo stuff here, Layover here and Fullshore here, and his solo project Bandcamp here to hear the record.

Luke Rainsford is also playing a mini tour with Craterface next weekend, see the poster below and check them out!

Luke Rainsford x Crater Face tour