Less than one minute into the opening track ‘S.L.U.M.P.’, we are cast back to the heady days of the late nineties. Brit Rock is still around, though making way to a new breed of cats as the melodic punk of the US is becoming a strong bed-fellow with the slightly quirkier variant from the other side of the Atlantic, and bands like Ash, the multiple off-shoots from The Wildhearts, and more are spawning and bursting out and creating a scene. It was a fertile time of fun and creativity as the last vestiges of cardigans and sixth-form grunge cottoned onto the fun and febrile feel of a Cool Britannia.
And it’s great to be back. It helps the reminiscences that vocalist Jack Rogers sounds the dead-spit of Tom Spencer of ill-fated rock n’ rollers The Yo-yos in tone and melody selection, and it sets the mood perfectly. ‘I Am Not Me’ works in some twisted Nirvana undertones before a catchy snarl of a chorus lodges in the brain, and is quickly followed by a further example of a very credible “less is more” approach the band use will throughout with a poppy punk song with a caustic heart in ‘All Grown Up’. There are elements of an Idlewild or a Symposium littered throughout So Far, So Good (Venn) too, though not in a way that seems anything other than current and fills out a sound that sees Out of Love hold their own with contemporaries Drug Church.
While the melodies and sensibilities of an early Green Day or Sum 41 may play out, the polish and positivity is tempered by that stubborn British refusal to be overwhelmingly joyous… representing the underwhelming banality of life in your early twenties in Britain, and that injection of cynicism, while still serving up choruses and hooks made to have a packed club of sweaty, pogoing voices yelled back at them that stems all the way back to the garage rock roots of punk, up through bands like 3 Colours Red and on to our London quintet here.
‘See Right Through’ follows a quick-fire ‘Dog Daze’, a thumping beat, jangling guitars, and rock n’roll heart to a compact melodic punk tune that sees Rogers sounding like a stronger Thom Weeks (Gnarwolves) to prove that, as the album runs deep and the hits keep a coming, Out of Love have made a smart decision in bundling their two previous EP releases together with a handful of additional tracks to capitalise on a return to the live arena and a growing reputation.
This thirteen song, thirty minute introduction proves things are So Far, So Good, indeed.
8 / 10