Alternate Function ‘Scopes’ EP Review

I had to listen to the entire EP three times before I could even find the words to describe it, turns out I only need one word. Wow. Yeah you heard me. This EP gave me crazy throwbacks to when I first heard Fish Tank… Do you know how hard it is to do that? When I first listened to the Fish Tank EP ‘Henry’, it made me re-evaluate my listening decisions. For the first time, I heard an independent truly own the scene; it proved to me that being signed doesn’t make you a great group or artist. I got that exact same feeling here. This EP knocked my ruddy socks off. Each track left my jaw that bit closer to the floor; it goes without saying that there is no filler in this EP… I can only imagine what these guys are capable of in a big budget studio…

Production wise, the entire EP really surprised me. I’m so used to listening to these poorly put together albums that have been rushed for the heck of making some content; this album genuinely sounded professional in every way. The guitar tones are organic and raw, the drums are thunderous and deep, the bass is wholesome and powerful, heck, the vocals even hit me right in the chest! Nothing felt too over produced or rushed, each note came across as pronounced and meaningful. There isn’t a shiny gloss on this EP too, it’s very natural and untampered; again it reminded me very much of Fish Tank. Sometimes I would of liked to of heard the vocals strapped back just a touch, just to let the instrumentation rebuild instead of swamping it with mid ground (only producers would notice this).

Musicality wise is where the record really shines in my opinion. I really didn’t expect this math style, indie rock sound; going in I thought it was just going to be another by-the-numbers indie group, boy was I wrong. There are real moments of instrumental bliss in this EP, from the first track too. We have tapping/hammering sections, we have progressive riffs, we have breakdowns, we have the whole musical platter on one five-song EP. The drums in particular have some downright brutal fills during some transitions that really brought out the metal fan in me; great tom work sir. There are even a couple bass lines in here which had me humming away to their low end; that takes some strong stuff to suck me in. But you know the biggest miracle for me…? THERE ARE REAL, FULLY FUNCTIONING BRIDGES ON THE EP! None of that feigning crap, some real differentiated pieces of art. Tracks like ‘Hollowed Homes’ and ‘Tests and Tasks’ have some really interesting bridges, thick with variation; I freakin’ love that. The textures are vibrant and unique, the progressions are technical yet emotional, the structures are intelligent and well arranged… I can barely say a bad word about the entire EP! The only thing I can really point out as a little shaky, is the transition from track 2 to 3. I can udnerstand n a CD how it’s probably pretty smooth, but on streaming sites and such (aka the only platforms that make any money), it does sound a touch disjointed, but that’s very much a nitpick.

Lyrically the songs are all strong, as they typically are with independent music. However, it’s the delivery which is the key here. The vocalist has a much stronger voice than I expected, with a range that pulls off these big notes too! He has a unique tone and he sticks to it, he never delves into weird accents or phones in to other voices, he’s confident in his own capabilities. Each word is believable and I connected with each phrase; that’s typically real hard to do.

Overall then you have to hear this album! When you bare in mind that ‘Henry’ is my favourite EP of all time and yet this very closely resembles it and gives me the same feelings; you could say that they’re onto a winner here.

G Rating: 8/10 – An absolute delight to listen to.

I Rating: 9/10 – Christ we have some competition for EP of the year don’t we?

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