Sheffield’s Dead Harts built a reputation around scorching live shows and their pulverizing take on hardcore – 2016 saw the band part ways, and out of the ashes.. The Family have risen. Ex-DH vocalist Matthew Baxendale and former guitarist turned bassist Dominic Bass have pulled together a new crew of rebels, this time finding themselves on a less metallic, much more scuzzy path. After debuting their single Radio Headphones earlier this year, the band recently have launched their debut EP – the aptly titled Welcome to the Family.
The first thing fans of DH will notice is that as opposed to the Dillinger Escape Plan meets Norma Jean sound of their previous band, the South Yorkshire mob have taken a much simpler and downright filthier approach to their music. Ain’t Gonna Happen Like That opens proceedings with an almost glam rock stomp before Baxendale lowers the tone with snarling vocals, venting his spleen about someone who has crossed him. For those hoping that some remnants of hardcore remain, the band do just that, but this time it’s more in the vein of Gallows/Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes as can be heard on degenerate anthem My Kinda Scum.
The production, loose as it is, pulls everything together, helping the record sound grimey as heck, all the while retaining the classic garagy-vibes of Bleach-era Nirvana. It’s a record that feels raw and pained but one than upon repeated listens finds it’s melodies and catchy vocal lines getting stuck in your head for days.
Welcome to the Family is a bold move and almost a leap in scenes for Baxendale and co, but one that works as an exercise in simple, snotty punk sounds. Fans of Dead Harts will no doubt be interested in seeing what some of the boys are up to now and will be happy that despite a change in sound, no intensity has been lost.
Welcome to the Family is available now on all streaming services.
Sheffield based The Family are made up of members from the disbanded Dead Harts. This subsequent band are soon to be releasing their debut EP Welcome To The Family on the 19th of May, which promises to be this venture in grunge rock with their influences sprouting from the likes of Nirvana and Metz. But without further ado let’s break down The Family’s debut EP Welcome To The Family.
Ain’t Gonna Happen Like That kicks this 4-track EP off. At first the instrumentation feels like it could be the lead in to a great indie track, but soon the loud and powerful guitars cut through and take the music down this more rock centric route the band take on this EP. As this track presses on the drums continue to drive the song, sticking to this very controlled and upbeat tempo that the guitars easily sit on top of. As Mathew Baxendale’s vocals come in to the forefront there is this sense of grunge coming through, which adds to the overall tone of the track and allows this song to show just what is in store for the rest of this EP. Despite the vocal performance being strong on this track there are times where the instrumentation and vocals seem to clash but for whatever reason this does work.
Coming next off this EP is My Kinda Scum a song which yet again comes powering through with this very tight and well constructed instrumentation. Unlike the opening track of this EP the vocals on My Kinda Scum seem to not clash as they had done only a song earlier which allows for a far more cohesive experience. Alongside this the far more grunge rock sound comes in to fruition on this track, with the fuzzy and dirty riffs, which allows The Family to fully display their musical abilities as the song powers through its 4 minute run time.
After reaching the half way point on this EP The Family present the song Nightmares and Daydreams which unfortunately is the weakest cut off of this EP. Despite there being moments of interesting instrumentation and well thought out song structure, the overall feel and presentation of the track feels, for lack of a better term, ‘samey’. Which is a shame as Nightmares and Daydreams is a very fun and upbeat track that has an instinctive bop to it.
Ending this short EP is Radio Headphones, which is the strongest cut off the record. This track that The Family present is one that not only is extremely strong instrumentally but also vocally, as it is on Radio Headphones that the band showcase their ability to not only bring forward a track full of these musical highlights but also their capabilities in writing what is a very cohesive number. Overall this track is a great closer which not only gets its chorus stuck in your head but leaves you wanting more.
This 4 track EP by The Family is short lived, which is a shame as the EP presents the band in a great light and shows the band has and leaves you in the end wanting more. Despite a few brief moments where the instrumentation does feel samey and is almost on the verge of being bland the band are able to rectify it by having this catchy hook shortly after. Welcome To The Family as a whole is a greet introduction for the band and is definitely worth checking out not only because of the tight instrumentation present on the release but also because of the tight and well orchestrated vocal performances [7/10]