EP Review: Blaenavon – Miss World

Editor's Review

Summary

"Rather than firing through at light speed, Blaenavon’s latest EP is a solid, sultry tip-toe through youth, love and kinship."

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On their Facebook page Blaenavon list a number artists that have influenced their songwriting: “The Proclaimers (before they got shit), Joy Division, MF Doom, Miles Davis, Han Solo, Playwrights.”

While their sound is probably more grounded than that of the Millennium Falcon, the drama and vivid imagery of the stage does manifest itself in Blaenavon’s gothic brand of indie-rock. Returned after two years of keeping fans in the dark, Blaenavon’s new Miss World EP may have some answers to the lingering questions left by their superb 2013 Koso EP.

A startling effort, the Miss World EP is a cold rush of blood throughout. The three-piece’s relentless, cascading rock-pop riffs and dreary aura have not changed, but their energy seems more mature and more carefully jigsawed together. Sounding less robust than their previous efforts, ‘Hell Is My Head’ is a party and a sobering pop-trip all in one: clothed in dense guitar and solid, angry drum playing, frontman Ben Gregory’s shy storytelling is given room to fester: “But I’m dripping through my soul, time takes it toll, and I’m left cowering behind my disguise.

‘Destiny’s Mild’ is a likeable, pop-infused indie track about isolation and escape. Sauntering under a slab of brooding bass slides and breathless vocals, the final crescendo brings the song to an angsty climax. Leading harshly into the thinned out ‘Dragon,’ the EP’s standout song, Blaenavon’s sound appears less hesitant and more aggressive. Again, Gregory’s vocals are helpless, as he sighs “Run with me brother hide from yourself, pack up the suitcase and drown” in an almost biblical, choir-like fashion. Indeed, the song’s lyrical edge and forlorn tone stays with you long after the song finishes. Like a wounded animal, the strung out breakdown howls under a coat of reverb in an almost endless way.

At long last Blaenavon have shown the world what they’ve been up to. A stunningly emotional effort from the Liphook trio that signals good things to come for the future. Well worth the wait, the Miss World EP gives a strong insight into what the band’s first album will sound like. With a touch of art rock, a dash of soul and a towering presence of indie-rock, Blaenavon’s sound has had time to develop into something very special. Rather than firing through at light speed, Blaenavon’s latest EP is a solid, sultry tip-toe through youth, love and kinship.

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