EP Review: Mt. Misery
Hartlepool’s indie-pop band are back with their signature folk sound.
This release is their second compilation following the 2018 EP ‘Memory’ and, while its first half echoes elements of its predecessor, the new EP really comes into its own later into the track list. The singing on this is pretty tight all the way through, and the abundant instrumentation doesn’t take away from the vocals or song writing.
The EP has a childlike approach to the melodies, especially in songs like ‘Lonely Pines’; a catchy number with the same southern guitar embellishes and lazy summer day aesthetic as heard on ‘Memory’. So, apart from the solid performance vocally and instrumentally, there’s nothing pushing the boundaries for the band.
This appears to be a running theme on this EP as we move onto the second song in the track list. ‘Tell Me What’s on Your Mind’ starts with a stripped back intro, placing emphasis on the vocals and the lyrics. The psychedelic surf rock guitar alongside the western guitar embellishments give off a very laid-back atmosphere. The Overall lack of dynamics however, leaves the song feeling flat. If artistically the song was intended to be mellow then it does this well, but unlike the catchy melodies in ‘Lonely Pines’ this track has nothing to grab you and is ultimately forgettable in my opinion. It does what it is trying to do well. But there’s maybe not enough dynamics in the progressions, especially for pop. It’s a mellow cut that some may enjoy but personally I prefer the second half of this EP.
Which brings us to ‘Heart Beat’, which is where the band really kicks into gear with much more energetic song writing. The psychedelic guitar chords give off an ambiguous energy, which then switches into the chorus with a little more kick, nothing like arena rock but certainly nice when the chorus follows a more linear build up in the harmony. The mix on the track could have been better to really give a more dynamic shift from chorus to verse, that would turn it from a promising contender to an indie banger in my personal opinion. Overall, it’s a good juxtaposition to the much more mellow ambiguous chords of the verse. The happy lyrics are countered by the mellow delivery and to me it sounds like the vocalist is taking risks on this track and pushing his voice in moments, and nothing is more boring that cut and dry vocal performances. So good job on that.
The guitar work on the latter half of this EP feels much more solid and fleshed out. Especially in the final song ‘Ferris Wheel’. The guitar melodies in the chorus play nicely with the vocal melody and still hold its own in the pre-verse instrumental parts. Speaking of which the arrangement on this track is very artful and slick. The use of the guitar melodies to break up the two-verse structure in the first half of the song leads to a much stronger transition into the chorus midway through the song, paired with the driving one note bass in the verse that opens up to a full chorus really gives this song life. My favourite part of the EP.
The fade out to the track emphasises the never-ending cycle presented in the lyrics. Nothing wholly impressive but, paired with the other elements of this song, shows there’s some level of thought put into the song writing.
So, to me it sounds like this band is one to watch if you’re into folk infused indie-pop. The energy in the latter half of the EP shows some real growth from the band and, if they were to develop their more mellow style in the first half with maybe more dynamism, then then they would begin to show some solid versatility.
Definitely worth checking out, even if it’s not your typical genre.