THE LICKERISH QUARTET – Threesome Vol. 3

The Lickerish Quartet’s second EP (released in January 2021) was a slow burner. A few of its great power pop qualities were immediately obvious, but in terms of all round hook-filled joyousness, it certainly didn’t provide that immediate sugary hit you’d expect from three ex-members of Jellyfish. In time, of course, the band’s sophisticated pop qualities shone through, and a couple of the songs eventually sounded like the best things that Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith and Eric Dover had delivered in some time.

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BLUE HERON – Ephemeral

At the tail end of 2021, a new stoner band appeared over the musical horizon. Blue Heron were incredibly heavy, and yet conveyed broad atmospheres within their world of darkness. It was clear from their two track debut that they weren’t just another sludgy doom and stoner vehicle hacking out weighty riffs.

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BANG BANG FIRECRACKER – Hear Evil EP

In a world where attention spans are shorter, and streaming has meant listeners have a whole universe of new music waiting at the push of a button, British rock band Bang Bang Firecracker hit upon the idea of splitting their second album into three EP releases, giving fans a succession of bite-sized material that would present the songs a short and punchy fashion, but never sell fans short on massive sounds. The first EP, ‘See Evil’ did, indeed, deliver very highly in the riff stakes, placing BBF somewhere between The Almighty and Black Label Society. For some fans, those riffs were enough alone to make an impression – and, granted, they were often bloody excellent – but a fondness for old school macho, expletive-driven lyrics occasionally let the side down.

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THE RUMJACKS / FLATFOOT 56 – Split EP

Split EPs are often a good way to discover a couple of new bands, and with six songs presented in a no-frills manner, this shared release between Celtic punks The Rumjacks and Flatfoot 96 is no exception. Both bands take a relatively straight, no nonsense approach to their subgenre, and that means that – in the main – most people will either love or hate them.

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THE SILVER LINES – Sleaze EP

London based rock band The Silver Lines sometimes convey a very retro sound, but unlike some, they’re keen to take a few key influences and at least try to twist them into something new. On their debut EP, you’ll find swathes of retro indie jangle, even a heavy dose of funk, and yet the band never sound as if they’re settled within either camp. Their sound can seem a little busy, yet remains focused; their song writing is hooky, but never anthemic. You might say that The Silver Lines sound absolutely natural – and that would certainly be true of frontman Dan Ravenscroft’s unmistakably British vocal delivery – but whichever way you approach their music, there’s something interesting lurking beneath the surface.

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