Sound — 8
Blitz Kids are slowly rising to become a formidable member of the Brit rock crew, and this EP will surely help propel them to the top. It is different to "Vagrants And Vagabonds", "Scavengers", and their other pre-"Vagrants" EPs. Gone are the quirky punk influenced songs, here are some belting stadium rock anthems. The EP starts with the slightly grungy "You're Dead To Me", which is my favourite from the album. It's the heaviest song on there with an outstanding performance on the guitar from Jono Yates. Sure, he's no Steve Vai, but his riffing and independence from straight power chords stands out. "Warrior" is a true rock anthem with U2-esque guitar effects and a chorus that stays in your head. "Strangers With Memories" and "Memento Viver" stick to this formula. "Wild Hearts" begins with a slightly jazzy, chilled atmosphere before its anthemic conclusion, and Never Die is an effects-heavy stomper that ends the EP nicely. The drumming is tight and the bass playing is simple to allow the guitar lines to meander and expand with the effects and riffing. All of this seems promising for an album in late 2013.
Lyrics — 7
Joe James has a fairly low voice, but belts out the words when he really needs to. And that works well. He has a unique voice which is quite soulful at times. What's really noticeable is the amount of reverb that's been put on to the vox, especially noticeable on "You're Dead To Me". Most of the album seems to be about unity, sticking together, strength in numbers and similar. Take some of the chorus lines: "Like the fire in my eyes I will rise, I will rise I am a warrior" "Wild hearts cannot be broken Wild hearts lead me astray Wild hearts a lonely burden But not a thing to trade" "Scream it to the sky We'll never die" This goes well with the nature of the songs because it's obvious that Blitz Kids are aspiring to become a large rock outfit aiming to draw crowds together with their anthems. And what better to sing about than, well, themselves? One of the times Joe James doesn't sing about this general topic is during "You're Dead To Me", an angry song about an ex-girlfriend. But the song's quite grungy and heavy (although polished), so that works well. "Memento Viver" discusses being "kicked to the dirt" and "used and abused for the whole of my youth" - a little darker, but this emotionally charged song still suits the music. Good lyrics and vocals.
Overall Impression — 8
What I like most about this is the memorable choruses and slick production. It's a departure from what's been done before, but it still sounds like Blitz Kids. I would honestly love to go hear these songs done live and sing along to this solid set of tunes. Is it better than their old material? Not sure yet. The title track could well be one of the best songs they've ever written, but still. I'm honestly most disappointed about the fact that this EP/mini-album/whatever you want to call it is only six songs long! I think with the right amount of gigging this year and a full-length album with these sort of songs, they could go far. For fans of Muse, Lower Than Atlantis, Foo Fighters... If you like singalong alt-rock, go for it. All right, there isn't really much variety here at face value. The bare bones of the songs are all the same - quiet verse, singalong chorus, too polished to be grunge - but if you listen closer, it's more subtle. The heavy riffs of "You're Dead to Me" against the chill of "Wild Hearts", the melodic guitar of "Memento Viver" against the sudden key change in "Warrior"? These guys know how to use their songs. Main recommendations are "Never Die" and "You're Dead To Me", but as it's such a short album, why not go for all of it? Very good.