Scottish unsigned indie band Vertebrae cites a diverse range of influences including Arctic Monkeys, Meshuggah, and Foals. Having formed in the summer of 2013, the 16-year olds released their debut self-titled EP in April 2014 and it would be interesting to see if they have the potential to attract interest from a label. They have given out the EP at their gigs, which is a nice way of interacting with their audience and gaining new fans.
The opening track, Chappy, contains a bassline which showcases their Arctic Monkeys influence and the slight distortion on Jake Morgan’s vocals makes for a raw and enjoyable listen. Even Out could do with some better mixing on the vocals as they are too low, however that does not stop it from being a frenetic punk track. Lyrically, C.H.A.V showcases Morgan’s dissatisfaction with chavs and includes an infectious chorus of “Council house and violence”. While the track is a bit repetitive, the drumming from James Ballinghall is fluid and tight.
The next track, Razorsharp showcases the band having a lot of fun and while Morgan’s lead guitar could be pushed up further into the mix, the drumming and Michael Neal’s bass guitar keep the track flowing. Unfortunately, Talk About It is dated, as it sounds like a mediocre indie band from around 2006 and a bit under-produced; additionally it is hard to make out the lyrics, as there is too much distortion on Morgan’s vocals.
All Of My Friends showcases that Vertebrae can broaden their horizons as it is reminiscent of Funeral For a Friend and early noughties post-hardcore. The distorted bass tone additionally gives off a heavier sound, while the intro to final track Vertebrae is rather upbeat and this continues throughout the song, which talks about a night out. It is a solid track with a Strokes vibe, and a great way to finish the album.
Overall, there are some hiccups, and Morgan’s voice can be an acquired taste at times, however the EP was an energetic listen and hopefully on Vertebrae’s next offering they can perhaps put some electronica elements into their music because it will help them stand out from their contemporaries, and fans of Arctic Monkeys and Britpop should add this record to their collection.
Top Tracks: ‘Razorsharp’, ‘Vertebrae’
For Fans Of: Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, The Strokes