Here at Black Flag towers we don’t just focus on established bands; in fact some of the most rewarding pieces we’ve written have been interviewing and reviewing unsigned or new acts. This was the case when the Flag interviewed House Party Massacre in May of this year (https://www.theblackflag.co.uk2012/05/26/interview-house-party-massacre/).
House Party Massacre have since released their debut E.P – ‘New Breed’ – over the summer and with the band looking to be confirmed to play at the forth coming inaugural Black Flag gig we thought it was high time to feature a review.
‘New Breed’ is a 6 track E.P and clearly this young band want to utilise their limited exposure time to showcase their whole repertoire of musical abilities. House Party Massacre bill themselves as a Punk/Alternative act and if you read the interview with them – see above – then their musical styles displayed on the E.P should come as no surprise when you consider who they name as musical influences. The songs display a range from straight up punk (Act Like An Angel) to indie (Pavements Turn To Red) to combining the both (Lonely Row).
The standout track, for me at least, is Pavements Turn to Red. It shows the bands musical abilities the best with the vocals from John the clearest and also, probably the most profound. The chorus is catchy and one can just imagine the crowd at a gig shouting along in unison.
However, unfortunately there are tracks on the E.P which just aren’t going to win over critics. ‘Pointless Paranoia’ is the prime example where the song just seems to amble along in a rather dreary, depressed state – much like a hobo after being uprooted from his favourite bench. I think its indicative of the position the band find themselves in though – in its fledging days as an act and still undecided on quite what style/genre they suit best.
I’ve read a few other reviews of this E.P and the overwhelming number are positive but a few seem to continuously be dismissive of the production values. If the reviewer knows anything about the band then they will know they are just starting out and clearly doing their best to get their music out there (and this needs to be applauded). This will of course mean that they don’t have money to throw at studio time or the opportunities to record with the best equipment. What the listener has to do is to try to take away from the E.P what the band is ‘about’ – not the fact that they couldn’t get the sound on the drums or guitars perfectly mixed on every track.
For the bands age and where ‘they are’ in terms of their musical career, this E.P is a good first foot into the murky world of music. Certainly there are things the band needs to work on – the sheer number of styles which they are attempting to encompass probably needs to be narrowed down – but this will come with time and maturity. Once they become more confident in themselves and they know what ‘works for them’ then they will be in the position to really take the music industry on.
Words: Brian McKayc