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EP REVIEW: All At Sea, Sink Or Swim

TITLE: Sink Or Swim
BAND: All At Sea
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: August 24th 2012

That EP teaser I shared last week has finally evolved into a full blown five-track gift. Sink Or Swim was unleashed on Spotify and iTunes today and it’s an awesome first effort from the Essex band. Fusions of some of the great British pop-punks and alternative rockers run through the EP and in fact, it just makes for excitement about what there is yet to come from All At Sea.

Opening with Rumours, a track with singing riffs and soulful vocals sets the tone for the record. It’s about the damage that rumours can do and the heartbreak they cause. There is a lot of emotion invested in the words, which is a rare quality in an opening song but All At Sea aren’t a band who are following in anyone’s shadow. Sure, there are elements of several other bands in their sound but their style is a fresh, original one.

11 Missed Calls is a track that arrives with a blast of heavy guitar and fast drumming, which is joined by the heartfelt vocals and you can’t not compare it to the best work of Bridgend rockers Funeral For A Friend. Like them, All At Sea have a great combination of angsty instrumentals and an emotional voice, making songs like this one a story of angry despair. You just wanna clench your fists and scream with them.

In the middle of the EP sits their hit single L.I.F.E, which gained a lot of attention on BBC Essex and Scrub Radio. It’s a track that puts images of silhouetted guitarists against spotlights in your head as soon as it starts. A slight smokey air surrounds it and the singing riff which becomes a motif adds a doomed feeling to it. There is no denying that it’s emo but rather than being overdramatic, it’s just honest -“Life has a way of bringing you down” is a depressing but true sentiment. The instruments are very much at the forefront and they’re shown off plenty of times in the lengthy instrumentals throughout the song. The ending also stops you in your tracks, as the chorus is almost whispered in a ghostly silence. A great first single and simply amazing live track.

The punk influences start to kick in on Overdose’s intro and this is the closest they get to Framing Hanley. Again, its heavy metallic sounds run for most of the song but the breakdown around the two minute mark allows the lyrics to shine through before launching again into what they do best. Surrounded in secrets and lies, Overdose is full of suspicion and that darkness certainly does hang over it. The distortion and prog-rock ending add the anguish, making it an incredibly theatrical production.

It would appear that they can do chilled as well though. My Home, Your City finishes things off with a relaxing rock anthem, which simply sings you home. It’s like being put gently down after twenty minutes of being thrown around and being serenaded to sleep. Melodic guitar and soft heartfelt vocals mean that the closing track is simply a “goodbye, hope you had a good time” from the band.

There isn’t any doubt that All At Sea are masters at creating a well-rounded record and Sink Or Swim is an awesome introduction to your brand new favourite band. All five tracks conjure up images of electrifying live shows, so I’m sitting like a coiled spring waiting for a London date to be announced.

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