The year is 2019. Social media is the most beautiful thing in the world, we can communicate freely, link up with friends we never thought we’d se again and share instant news and funny videos with loved ones. It’s also the most powerful tool for manipulators, governments and egotists making it a toxic environment in this anti-establishment, anti-life, anti-happiness society we’re now living in. Now this notion can be challenged and debated at length and has, but on Sounds Like A Storm’s debut EP, they spend 15 minutes exploring the effects of the modern world on youth, ultimately concluding we should go back to the “The Classic Way of Things”.
Closer and Corker we’ve heard before. These tracks are reflective of the wider SLAS sound that has been growing since debut single release Emission back in 2017. Lead singer Sennen Ludman has a distinctive, aggressive, Leeds accent which crawls through the two tracks in the way we’ve come to expect. Closer and Corker challenge the way in which social media and the world now expects perfection and the coming-of-age screaming bridge in Closer shows that Ludman is sick of it all, wanting to change this way of living.
Corker is more of a reluctant love-song. Ludman’s lyrics suggest he is head-over-heels with the girl – “our lass she’s a corker, I’d do anything for her”. When you dive into the lyrics further though, you realise the depth of the message in the songs. She’s manipulative, she is Ludman’s notion of perfection. I’m in awe of the way in which SLAS can produce the most powerful, message driven bridges and in Closer the pounding drums, the scream of “she prefers white wine, downs another pint” is so emphatic, this track is sure to become one of the four-pieces defining tracks in years to come.
Fully expecting the second half of the EP to follow this trend, I was genuinely surprised when Confessions started. A complete change in mindset and writing for Ludman, the track slows things right down and really exposes the bare bones of SLAS. Knowing Sennen, this track wasn’t easy to listen to as it shows delicacies you wouldn’t know exist.
“We’ll talk all night, share a bottle if you like, and all the bottled up stuff inside, suddenly feel better, it’s like a confession or talking to Christ”
Not being funny, and this is the worst piece of journalism ever, for someone of Ludman’s age to be writing lyrics like that, it’s just exceptional. The entire track is encapsulating, it’s beautiful and you hang to every lyric like it’s the last song you might ever here. It’s raw and true and I have a lot of respect for SLAS for putting a track this strong and emotional into their debut.
Back to the formula for the finale. A Courteeners/Sherlocks esque riff to open, Classic Way Of Things hits you much quicker and stronger than any of their previous songs. The track is rip-roaring and energetic, but again, the SLAS guys completely shock me by dropping the tempo right down before exploding into the continual, indie-driven riff. SLAS are a punk band, that’s for sure – their lyrics prove this, but why I love Ludman’s writing and songmanship, is they are punk in 2019; they combine the best of indie rock into their music and the combination is unique and something worth holding on to. Social media is toxic, if you believe that, this is the song for you. It’s anthemic, scary at times in it’s truthfulness and it’s the perfect finale to the guys’ debut.
If you’re a fan of SLAS, hold onto them closely. It can’t be long before this band are doing what IDLES and The Blinders are doing, taking on the world. I love this EP, I really do and I didn’t think I would. Their previous releases have at times been erratic, and been evident of the guys finding their sound, but this, this is something else, this is genre-defining, a huge moment for SLAS and I am so excited for what the next year could hold for these guys!
Photo credit: Barnaby Fairley