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EP Review: No More Numbers – Smethwick Seditions

The first time that I listened to this record all the way through I really didn’t know what to make of it, and that my friends is a brilliant thing. Normally when reviewing a song, album or whatever I like to try and give the reader a bit of a clue as to whether this is the sort of thing that they will like, you know the usual, ‘it’s heavy rock and they sound a bit like….’ But this time I really can’t do it. It’s not punk, it’s not rock and it’s not grunge… it’s just No More Numbers.

‘Smethwick Seditions’ is the follow up to the bands 2012 effort ‘Bad Decision, Bad Ending, Bad Playing’ and it really is a quite unique record. Not unique as in a bit weird but I need to say something nice about it. But unique as in, this really isn’t the type of record that you get to hear these days and what a damn shame that is.

The EP opens with the politically fuelled ‘Each Time I Deny Them.’ There has been much gnashing of teeth and lamenting of the supposed lack of ‘punk spirit,’ in recent years but I’m proud to announce ladies and gentlemen that I’ve found it. The intro to the track serves as a brilliant opening to the album as a whole with the band making their intentions clear. Lyrically we get ‘The politicians lie, and so we send our children to die.’ Politically motivated…? Just a bit.

‘My Cause is Revenge,’ continues the political theme and confirms my suspicions that this record would be right at home in 1977, and you can’t help but notice that at times the vocal from frontman Mike Gregory lends a real resemblance to a certain Mr Johnny Rotten. No airs and no graces here.

If there was to be a single from this project then it would be this track ‘Downward Spiral.’ One of the things that I love about this song and one of the things that I love about the band as a whole is the level of self-depreciation. The opening line on the bands Facebook page reads, ‘We think we’re good, but nobody likes us’ and that spirit can be found on this track with the brilliant line ‘Another misunderstanding, romantic crash landing, that’s the story of my life.’ Very simple, but very effective, every man and his dog know that feeling.

‘Victory’ is probably the heaviest song on the album and like ‘Downward Spiral’ it is a little bit more refined that the first two tracks. I say refined, in the same way that being punched in the face is a bit more refined than being hit in the face with a brick. The anger has subsided a little here but we aren’t quite into pop ballad territory just yet.

The penultimate track ‘Dismorphia’ sees the band return to their punk roots and the sound that served them so well on their debut. Speedy riffs layered over crashing drums batter you for four and a half minutes culminating in a nice little guitar solo, showing a slightly different side to the band. They might be annoyed at the system but they can still put together a ‘proper’ rock ending.

The album draws to a close with a track called ‘They Say Its Chemical,’ a track which I think sums up the band quite nicely. It almost seems to act as a summary, everyman lyrics, nice bass riff and crashing drums. And that right there is the beauty of what is simply a great little record.

I opened this review by saying that I didn’t really know what to make of this EP, but after countless listens and scribbled note taking, it has finally come to me. It sounds like Smethwick. This record perfectly sums up and reflects its origins, and in my book this is a very underrated quality. In this part of the world people are angry with the government, the system and have a real gift for being able to laugh at themselves and this is exactly what this record does. It’s full of quotable lines, slick riffs and an undying underdog spirit. And who doesn’t love and underdog?

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