Sound — 6
A Beginner's Guide to Life by Stoke band Screwloose is their third outing on CD. Formed in 2005, they have honed their writing skills and tightened up their sound by touring across the Midlands, supporting bands likes My Awesome Compilation and Dopamine. Although the title track is disappointingly disjointed in places, the other three tracks are good examples of how tight this band have become. Placing themselves in the Alternative Rock genre and with influences like Biffy Clyro and Funeral for a Friend, Screwloose won't immediately jump out at you, they are not that different to some of the other bands in their genre. "So you call this a set back" has some catchy guitar riffs in it and the guitar and drums are tight throughout, and "Eight" is a good acoustic EP closer. Bassists may be frustrated to find that the bass has been buried in the mix but guitarists will find some decent bits throughout to bring a smile to their face. No new ground trodden here but a decent listen none the less.
Lyrics — 7
Screwloose are reasonably strong lyrically. "Eight" is a short, thought provoking track which says just enough in the short time it lasts. "Out of Friday?", has a twist on the well-trodden topic of friendship with lines like 'An army to shield you, a basis to build on a knee before a king". The EP is littered with similar, arguably clever lyrics, but unfortunately they do seem to go off on tangents at times. The lyrics meld very well with the music, obviously you won't be pogoing around any dance clubs to them or screaming them back from the mosh pit but I can't imagine that was the effect Screwloose were after anyway. Matt and Andy both take on vocal duties and their voices compliment each other well and are powerful enough to build upon the songs, even if they are very similar to other vocals in the genre.
Overall Impression — 7
Compared to other albums that came out this year, Screwloose would probably sit above average but aren't going to challenge any of the bigger players just yet. I found "Eight" to be the most memorable track on the album, but "So you call this a Setback?" isn't bad either. Screwloose won't change the world of music with this EP but they also won't be playing to near-empty venues or find themselves being completely ignored by the music world. If I lost this album I might buy it again, but it might find itself queued behind a couple of other albums.