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EP REVIEW: Skytown Riot, Soul Or System

skytownriotepTITLE: Soul Or System
BAND: Skytown Riot
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: November 19th 2013

Tennessee band Skytown Riot have already been compared to the likes of Coldplay and Muse, so it’s no surprise that their EP is one of epic proportions. Causing small clubs to burst at the seams with their ‘arena-rock’ sound, they’re a band who are aiming high with frontman Van Gallik saying “People don’t often expect to hear arena-rock in these smaller clubs but the way I see it, we’re just dressing for the job we want.”

After completing their current line-up in 2012, the band have been hard at work in the studio creating Soul Or System, which is packed full of big rock hits. Sharing stages with Hoobastank and Halestorm, Skytown Riot are sure to be making waves next year.

skytownriotBeginning with a deep dark piano and strong rock growls, Sensational is a great introduction to the band. Keyboard shimmers and a soft ethereal vocal make it a classic alternative track with an epic guitar solo and strong drums. Catchy vocals lead us into the rather different sounding Misbehave. Quirky electronic beeps give it an indie vibe with the alternative vocals toughening it up. A jaunty theatrical piece, Misbehave certainly stands out as a cheeky mischievous track among some solid hard rock.

In the middle of the EP sits beautiful ballad The Afterglow. A slow pretty piano prevails throughout the song and the deep violins in the back give it a mournful feel. Spaced out, dream-like vocals and soft drums create a peaceful but epic feeling and it allows you to drift off for the few minutes it lasts. Bringing you back to rural America is the band’s cover of traditional folk song House Of The Rising Sun. Their rendition certainly reminds me of the Muse version but with a Tennessee twist. Country twangs and explosive instrumentals make it a great live track.

My favourite track on the EP has to be Runaway Princess. Slamming drums, a catchy riff and classic alternative rock oozing from every bar. Rolling guitars carry along the rather philosophical song with the message that you can’t run away from yourself. It has so many catchy elements and is an awesome live track that will no doubt grab the attention of the alternative world. Ending on its title track, the EP certainly ends on a monster. Epic synth work begins it with strong defiant drums taking over and dark spidery riffs creating a theatrical song that was clearly written to be performed to thousands. Again, the theatre in what Skytown Riot do is apparent here and it’s very Muse-esque in the riffs.

Soul Or System is a must listen for any alternative rock fans. Skytown Riot could well be America’s answer to Muse and although the vocals are quite Matt Bellamy standard, Van’s voice is a gorgeous tone of alternative that really gives them an edge over other bands in the same genre.

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