Wednesday, 16 October 2013

#184: Landmarks - Running on Empty (EP review)

Manchester isn't a city synonymous with punk in the same way it is with other genres, northern soul for instance, indie for another. That isn't to say it hasn't seen a certain degree of talent emerge from the city, perhaps most famously were Buzzcocks for example, or Sonic Boom Six more recently. And while it's fair to say that Manchester is, above all, a city with it's musical heritage lying mainly at the feet of the indie contingency, it would be unfair to dismiss other artists simply because they don't adhere to one's own musical expectations. One such band eschewing the stereotype are Landmarks, a five piece pop-punk outfit who's fast and furious blend of gang-chant vocals and skate-punk guitars are filling a void left open by the complete lack of this kind music within Manchester.

Having been a band since late 2011, it's surprising to see that new 6 track EP Running On Empty is also the band's first. Take that as you will, but the fact of the matter is that the lads in Landmarks have spent those two years honing their skills and making a name for themselves, helped in no small part through a constant stream of high profile support slots for the likes of Such Gold and Hot Damn to name but two.

From opener 'Backpacks and Train-tracks' it's clear that the band posses the youthful energy pivotal to making this kind of music believable. From the chugging guitars to the call-and-response vocals, everything here is quintessentially pop-punk and we're not talking New Found Glory or Simple Plan pop-punk here. It absolutely smacks of bands such as Set Your Goals or The Story So Far , and, put simply, it's infectious.

Gang-chants have always been a seminal part of pop-punk convention and this is something that Landmarks excel at, particularly on third track and first single “Better Men Have Tried and Failed”. From the word go, the band utilise gang-chants to create a huge sense of anthemics, this, coupled with the self-deprecating lyricism makes for a furiously emotive addition to the record. You can almost see the circle-pits forming.

Final track 'Growing Pains' exhibits the most candour of all the six tracks featured and is a memorable way to close Running on Empty. The bass that runs throughout is indicative of early Blink-182 whilst the shared vocal duties only seem to add to the emotion of the track. It's a fine example of just what the band are capable of, and one which leaves listeners clamouring for more.

Having been a fan of pop-punk from an early age, it's not only fantastic to be able to bare witness to the calibre of bands coming up at the moment globally, but to know that there's (at the very least) the beginnings of a scene formulating in Manchester is brilliant. And, if indeed there is a scene formulating, then Landmarks deserve to spearhead it. If not for their irresistible pop hooks and takes-no-prisoners gang-chants, then surely for their insatiable gigging and work ethic. They might not be breaking boundaries with what they do, but it's only a matter of time before Landmarks are breaking hearts, after all, what else do skinny boys in pop-punk bands do?

Check out the bands Twitter here.

This review was orignally written for Punktastic. Click here to see what else they've been up to.