Catholic Action & Poor Things Split [Fuzzkill Records]

Catholic Action have already been making waves through the UK music scene even though their existence, in the grand scheme of Scottish music, has been brief.

‘L.U.V.’ finds its feet firmly in the danceable indie/alternative wave that seems to take over the UK in the 00s, however the band’s affinity for heavier groups also seems to live on in the crunching and wailing guitars that speckle the surface of the song.

At points the track breaks out of its danceable groove to give way to more outlandish influences and even features homage to Thin Lizzy in the form of a guitar solo.

‘Halfway Home’ serves up a decidedly more laid back piece of angst, with a firm side of jangling lead guitar wrapped around the midsection.

Both tracks contributed from Catholic Action show off distinctly different sides of their work, but they both weave interesting melodic work and exceptional production, for a band of their level to sound this precise and sure of themselves is a rarity.

Poor Things make up the other half of this EP and already have an LP under their belts, with another one already in the works.

They contribute two alternative pop gems to the split in question, ‘Sugar’ and ‘Friends’

Listening to the band will immediately draw comparisons to massively influential bands like Pavement and Weezer.

Most bands nowadays tend to count both of those amongst influences however, so that in and of itself is nothing special, it’s really the fusion of those two influences and others from the same era that really make the tracks shine.

‘Sugar’ clearly involves taking a vocal style from Malkmus, but at the same time the absolutely screaming lead guitar that interjects the sweet vocal harmonies like something J Mascis would conjure up.

The arrangement is sublime, following a typical slacker rock archetype there are breaks that really let the track breathe and make that chorus hook all the sweeter.

The second contribution, ‘Friends’, shows the band has a firm grasp of dynamics starting off with a sparse arrangement before exploding into another razor sharp guitar line.

Lyrically the song tackles something that everyone tends to go through, friends growing apart and gradually seeing each other less.

The subject isn’t something that’s tackled regularly and it’s nice to see a band with such a command of melody and lyricism writing about it.

Both sides of this EP draw from different time periods of music and a fairly diverse set of influences. If someone wrote down on paper what these bands were offering and said they were on a split EP together you’d be a bit unsure of the result, but I’m pleased to say that they both go together great. Each provides a contrast to the other and it keeps things fresh that way, the one thing they do have in common is that they are primed for more success if these tracks are anything to go by.

Words: Phil Allen

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