More often than not when I sit down to review something I do so with absolutely no expectations what so ever. This is mainly because I get sent so much stuff from new bands that frankly they could be anything. However, this record is very very different. Not only have I followed them for a while now but the name Eva Plays Dead has been absolutely everywhere in recent weeks.
All of that adds to up a lot of publicity and a lot of hype, if the band wants their upward momentum to continue this record has to deliver.
The EP bursts into life with its massive second single Live Again. This is one of those tracks that just clicked with me straight from the first listen. You are thrown straight into a whirlwind of crashing drums and swirling guitar riffs and left in no doubt that this is a band right at the top of their game. The chorus is a big, swaggering beast of a thing dying to be let loose on the live stage, and just when you think you’re done and need to be let down gently the guitar laced chaos of the outro beats up your senses one more time.
Bad Girl might be a slightly slower affair (only very slightly mind you) but this track is exactly what hard rock is all about. The central riff is the baddest of badass riffs and the vocal from Tiggy Dee ranges from floating and seductive during the verses to downright explosive on the hook. It’s the attitude of this track that really pulls you in though. All of the best rock bands going as far back as you like carried this ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude and EPD have captured that in damn fine style here.
Following track Wonderland was the first single taken from this EP back in March and it sounds as good and as fresh now as it did then. The gravelly intro leads you in, the main riff is catchy as hell and dances all over the tack until a hard as nails stomping rhythm takes over. I’ve never really appreciated it before but this band has a hell of a knack for writing great hooks and this chorus is another great example.
I think the main thing that I’ll take from this record is that EPD don’t really do subtlety, and frankly God bless them for it. This is rock music for 2015 mixed with an old school spirit, and if there was ever song which personified that idea its penultimate tune We Ain’t A Family. Blasted out at breakneck speed from start to finish this is another slab of hard rock which is impossible to ignore, the guitar work in particular is of the highest quality.
Closing effort 1950’s Woman is three minutes of killer hard rock rhythms dripping in nostalgia. What’s not to like? Written about frontwoman Tiggy Dee’s Grandmother this one strikes a deep chord with me as it reminds me so much of my own grandparents. They were a few years older but so much of their story and their outlook on life is summed up in this song it’s scary. The skittering riff fires the track along at unbelievable speed; the bass section is deliciously fuzzy and the false finish lulls you in before you’re hit by one more rock enthused punch in the face.
The biggest thing that impresses me about Eva Plays Dead is that they aren’t over reliant on one thing. Every element of their music works together towards the end goal. The vocals from Tiggy Dee are ferocious but not to the detriment of the riffs from Gascoyne, which in turn don’t overshadow the breakneck rhythms from bassist Shannon and drummer Boyse. They’ve got a brilliant natural balance.
To my ear Sounds of the Written Word is a fantastic piece of work. It’s a darker, grittier version of the band than we have seen before but it’s a development that has worked incredibly well for them. With Live Again being the standout moment on a record full of highlights. That track is the bar by which these guys will now be measured; it’s easily one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.
I wrote in my opener that for the band to continue on their upward curve that this EP had to deliver and from start to finish it does just that.
Sounds of the Written Word is not only the band’s best work to date; but it’s also a hard hitting, ass kicking reminder that rock music in 2015 is stronger than ever.
Sounds of the Written Word is officially released on 17th July.