As far as début albums go, you won’t find one much weightier than Northern Ireland trio Axis Of‘s one. ‘Finding St. Kilda’ crashes from seismic riffs to pop sensibilities in one fell swoop, making for one of the more exciting releases of the year so far. Building on 2011’s ‘Port Na Spaniah/Brobdingnagian’ single (and bringing both the latter and ‘We Dine On Seeds’ to the table again), the band’s eccentric style kicks the norm into touch, leaving the 11 tracks of punk to stand tall on their own.
Lead single, ‘Lifehammer’, is perhaps one of gentler tracks that you can ease yourself in with, but with it being at the back end of the album, you’ll have to bear the brunt of Axis Of‘s sonic assault first. It’s an intense listen, yes, but it’s a rewarding one too. From the upbeat burst of opener ‘Cardiel’ to the industrial punch in the intro of ‘Aung’ that’s followed by all manner of chaos, there’s a lot going on. There’s even space for an old-school Biffy Clyro approach on ‘The World’s Oldest Computer’, although to draw a comparison between the direction of these NI-upstarts and the current sound of the darlings of Ayrshire would do Axis Of a disservice.
There’s nothing watered-down on show here, least of all in the vicious ‘Edge Of The Canebrake’ where the tone shifts from aggressive to at-ease with a quick, melodic gang chant. It shows the other side to Axis Of, the side that embraces hooks sans shame. And why should there be? The chorus of the aforementioned ‘Lifehammer’ and the last minute or so of ‘Mendelssohnstrasse’ are melodies that you won’t be dragging out of your head anytime soon, while the infectious bounce of ‘We Dine On Seeds’ will have you air-drumming wherever you happen to be listening to it. At least, it had me air-drumming.
Deciphering the meaning behind the lyrics is just as rewarding too. Thrown out in clean tones and screams with a Northern Irish-twang, they’re ones that’ll have you reaching for the sleeve notes and make you think, rather than have the stench of familiarity that some bands’ lyrics have today. The one line that is borrowed is an inspired choice and is the best use of a song from Bugsy Malone since Bugsy Malone was released itself.
‘Finding St. Kilda’ is an impressive and promising début. Having already toured with US punks The Bronx and heading out on their own headline tour by the time this hits the press, Axis Of are building themselves up and, with a solid foundation like this, there ain’t no-one who’s going to knock ’em down.
Written by Ryan Williams
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989. | Aspiring freelance pizza eater.