Chapters EP

Written by: TL on 20/01/2015 17:27:23

Despite sharing their name with a US city and a certain historical beach landing in France, Omaha are in fact a British band recently signed to We Are Triumphant. Their new EP "Chapters" comes out today, and at first glance it feels like an impressively finished product, casting Omaha as the latest in the growing line of modern British rock bands. Primarily drawing reference to You Me At Six via the uncanny similarity between singer Jack Voss' vocal work and that of Josh Franceschi, you get the impression that these five lads out of Leicester have been groomed looking towards both YMAS and the likes of Young Guns and Mallory Knox for inspiration.

It's fairly impressive to play well enough, sing well enough and have a convincing enough production to compare to such established names right out of the gates, yet regretably, the first impression is a bit too good to be true as you start to really follow the movements and lyrics of the songs on "Chapters". You sense that the band has indeed looked to YMAS for inspiration, especially in how there seems to be a focus on writing dramatic bridges, but the truth is that any occasional sparks of momentum stall before the band follows up on them, so when the choruses come around things feel coherent but unimpressive and somewhat stale. There are decent guitar melodies littered here and there, but the compositions seem too loose. You're more prone to notice ideas that are obviously questionable than ones that are obviously good and Voss is so busy throwing his voice around dramatically in obvious Franceschi-imitation, that he doesn't seem to notice how unfortunately his efforts highlight some lyrics that are woefully clumsy and banal, such as these from the leading single "Devilish Acts":

We all know that you go with him, leaving me at the side of the road again.

I'm picking up the pieces, putting them together in my head..

I don't really know what to do with them,

but they're breaking my heart - starving my mind!"

"Strangers Embrace", "Homebound" and "There's No Room For Doubt", and this first song, "Devilish Acts", form up as the band's core material, sounding at least adequate-ish if you ignore the lyrics, as if they were curious - though understandably unreleased - b-sides from You Me At Six or Young Guns. Then however, there's also "Gnd", which has a clowny tempo and a strange mix where the vocals suddenly seem lowered beneath the instruments, and once again, you wait for the chorus to arrive and provide the key to appreciating the beginning, yet no such synergy is ever established. The record ends with "The Final Scene", which is a song listeners will remember for two things: For one there are these completely contradictory lyrics:

I guess it's true what they say, all good things come to end.

So don't let go my friend, and maybe we can try again,

I say we give it a little time.."

What? Didn't he just sing that all good things came to an end? Yet he wants to try again? Can this man make up his mind you wonder? The other thing is that the track basically builds up towards a rising part by guest singer Rebecca Need Menear, which ends on such a grating high note that you feel like screaming "Who let that out of the studio? Seriously?".

All things considered then, "Chapters" is a fraud. You find out about the band and you're encouraged because there seems to have been some serious work put into creating a style and an aesthetic for them, and into getting them a recording that sounds on par with the norm of bands at the forefront of the British modern rock scene. But scratch the paint but a little and you find that the songs are functional and nothing more. The band has a few good ideas and a good overall atmosphere to their sound, but they need to get a lot more patient and selective and string some better bits together. Then they need to give their lyrics some serious thought, lest they continue sounding like mopey excerpts from a high school diary, and then they need to start thinking about how the vocal melodies emphasize the words being sung. If these things improve then we'll see about their next release, but for now, the these guys' packaging makes promises that the content can't keep.

Download: There's No Room For Doubt,
For The Fans Of: You Me At Six, Young Guns, Mallory Knox, Blitz Kids

Release date 20.01.2015
We Are Triumphant

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