After hearing the first song on Scouts‘ new EP, ‘Why Do My Friends Have To Live Around Here?’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they sound like a Northern English version of Hot Water Music, or any of those types of melodic slow punk rock bands that seem less like pastiche and as relevant as ever now. It’s hard to say if this band will go the distance and have a notable amount of longevity, because this EP doesn’t seem to be raucous or unique enough to keep you entertained or completely engrossed. So, this band may be just another outfit that seeps into the distant memory.
Comparing this band to Hot Water Music may actually be a mistake in terms of getting peoples’ hopes up, because actually the lead vocals on this release come nowhere close to someone like Chuck Ragan, who stands amongst few vocalists in terms of ability because he’s so damn good. After a handful of listens to this EP, the first track ‘(Please Don’t Take Me Back To) North Shore’ remains the most engaging. It has the rhythms and melodic thrusts of the best The Gaslight Anthem material and guitar hooks aplenty which reel us in instantly.
The disappointment really is that the rest of the EP doesn’t really live up to the opening number, it actually gets progressively worse as you go through the four songs. Second track, ‘Every Day In Every Way’, is like a mash up of old We Are The Ocean and Rancid which makes it quite interesting, but beyond a handful of plays this stuff gets a little tiresome, although that may be down to the simplistic nature of the songs.
If you like any of the bands mentioned then this release is worth a listen, but there’s not much chance that Scouts will blow anybody away with this EP on the grounds that the quality of the material takes a nose dive after the first track.
Written by Greg Spencer