Birmingham: a creative hub for alternative talent that spans decade upon decade. From the godfathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath, to tech-wizards Oceans Ate Alaska, the second city has been consistently churning out top-tier music for decades, and if post-hardcore newcomers Brookehorse are anything to go by, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Their genetic make-up is a tornado of influences, atoms tangled in a furious yet alluring waltz. Molecules of Basement, Thrice, Funeral For A Friend and Finch swirl around a Glassjaw central core, and the results are atomic. That’s a good thing, by the way, and upon listening to ‘My Downfall Is My Own Design’, you’ll understand exactly why.
The five tracks on show here, two of which serve as an intro and an interlude, also serve as short-but-sharp samples of the Birmingham quartet’s intentions and capabilities. ‘Day By Day’ is an adrenaline-inducing rollercoaster, slowly crawling to a blind summit before plummeting into hard-hitting, memorable choruses and an unexpected-yet-welcome dark chasm that will whet the appetites of thrill-seekers. ‘How Long’ acts as a ballad of sorts, with sonic textures rising and falling as they dance with each other, gently swaying in and out of euphoria.
EP closer ‘Coming Up Short’ is the show-stealer here, though, channelling everything that made the genre’s formative years so appealing and turning the intensity dial as far as it can go. Comprised of gigantic chords, a subtle-yet-strong groove and vocal melodies begging for a singalong, it sees out the EP in a wonderfully climactic way. The songwriting on show throughout is really well thought out; even the intro and interlude have an understated and tasteful dynamic structure, and as a whole piece of work it flows really well from beginning to end. For a first step of a band’s career, this is more like a lunge or a long jump.
If you’re a fan of noughties emo and post-hardcore bands, then this EP will be a nostalgia trip that you won’t able to resist. If you’re a fan of the newer wave of the genre, you’ll still find yourself being swept away by its delights without even an attempt to fight the current. The venom of the heavier moments is potent enough to bring down a giant, and the decadence of everything surrounding them is beautiful enough to counteract the poison. The only real downside of this EP is that that it isn’t an album, but just like any good saga, it leaves you wanting more.
‘My Downfall Is My Own Design’ is a delectable hors d’oeuvre that provides an electrifying taste of what Brookehorse are capable of. Hopefully the wait for the main course won’t be too long, because we are very hungry.