Yeah, another quiet patch – been ill, been working, so reviews get relegated. And if you think that’s unprofessional, well, now I’m gonna review an EP (or three-song single; I’m not sure there’s any meaningful distinction any more, or if there ever was) by a band that features an old friend of mine. You Know The Tens are a Home Counties post-hardcore outfit who “grew up watching local peers including Hundred Reasons, Reuben and The Cooper Temple Clause make waves nationally and internationally”. Sterling influences all… but it’s kinda worrying that they’re all effectively defunct now. (Worrying in the sense that it makes me feel old… which isn’t that much of a challenge of late, to be fair.) Anyway, Andy from YKTT told me “it’s okay, you can be mean about it if you want to”; I didn’t want to be mean about it, but I have got to be honest, and I think they maybe should have waited a little longer before recording for release.
So, three tunes, the first of which be called “Renacimiento” (it means “rebirth” in Spanish, kids). Now, this is a self-produced and self-funded hello-world release, so budget production values are to be expected and forgiven. Sloppy timing, however, is a little harder to let go, and the drum-work on the verses of this tune is all over the shop. I’m usually fiercely opposed to the corrective use of quantize, but if you’re working fast on a tight budget, it’s a far better option than leaving loose beats banging around in your debut release.
I’m not sure that the order these tracks have ended up in my media player software is the right order, but if it is, “Renacimiento” is a very weird choice of opener from where I’m setting – not only does it bear the brunt of the imperfect playing, but its curiously pub-rockish sound doesn’t do the singer’s voice any favours at all. That yearning and earnest clean-sung hardcore style needs either jagged brutality or epic soundscaping (or maybe both) to back it up; this mismatch is like hearing Pavarotti singing along to a Casiotone demo sequence.
“Pearl Vultures” has a little more punkish spark and snap to it, with a pacey chorus leading into a squelchy-bass-and-keyboards breakdown; this is Brit pop-post-hardcore without the desperate aping of MTV tropes that has so discredited the form in the last few years, and there’s a hint of smart pop nous lurking in there, too, enough to make me think that “Renacimiento” is the runt of the litter.
And last track “Geronimo” shows off that Reuben heritage for sure, plus a wee bit of Biffy (you know, back before they became the UK’s answer to Kings Of Leon); built from familiar tropes used in ever-so-slightly unexpected ways, it’s probably the tune that most suggests You Know The Tens would be worth seeing live… but taken as a set, all three tunes suggest that much more playing live needs to take place before further visits to the studio. Don’t try to run before you can walk, guys; there’s definite potential here, but it needs more nurturin’.