Tag Your Targets / Hot Damn

Split EP

Written by: PP on 13/09/2011 17:31:15

We've previously encountered Tag Your Targets on their debut demo last year, where they set out to be a fun/bouncy pop-hardcore band with close ties sound wise to acts like With The Punches, Handguns, and Set Your Goals. It's a good sign I still remember the "this year...I'm doing something craaaazy" line from "New Year's Resolution", so a new EP by these up-and-coming Swedes is always a welcome sign. This time, they've teamed up with a Welsh pop punk / pop-hardcore band called Hot Damn to release a four song split, where both bands reveal two new songs and hopefully introduce each other to their own fans.

Since their demo, Tag Your Targets have improved in production, which is now cleaner and more polished. As a result of the disappeared rawness from their sound, they now have a less of a pop-hardcore vibe and more of a straight-forward pop punk one instead, though still resembling SYG and Handguns in places. Both "Rolling Hills, Broad Skies" and "Caution" are reasonably catchy, but the changed production has somehow made their sound less bright and bouncy this time around, so their expression sounds a little less direct and instantly grabbing as before. It still sounds pretty good, and both songs have sugar-coated melodies and a good drive to them, so as soon as the band can fix their live problems, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't keep growing in size.

But the 'winner' of the EP (if there needs to be one) is undeniably Hot Damn, whose first piece "Loyalties" absolutely explodes out of the record with a rawer sound than TYT, ringing guitars and enthusiastic vocals. They sound a lot like With The Punches did on their first EP, recalling that bright and joyous happy hardcore sound, which occasionally splits into Lifetime-inspired melodic hardcore as well. They have a ton of energy pushing the songs speedily forward, which makes all the difference in the world, as it makes the band sound like they're on the verge of a breakthrough, especially on the tapped and melodic guitars of "Nothing Stays (Nothing Lasts)". When their songs are also catchy, I predict great things in the future from these boys.

But in the end, it's always difficult to grade a split with a single grade, when you have two different bands each providing their own half of the record. So I'll just go with the average of the two bands, rating TYT with a solid 7 rating, and Hot Damn with an 8 for their ability to instantly convince the listener to be on board their expression.

Download: Rolling Hills Broad Skies by Tag Your Targets, Loyalties by Hot Damn
For the fans of: With The Punches, Handguns, Set Your Goals
Listen: Hot Damn Bandcamp / Tag Your Targets Bandcamp

Release date 01.08.2011

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