When Little Thief appeared at the Ramsgate Music Hall on a four band bill towards the end of 2019, they played to fewer than ten people. Regardless of the sparse crowd, they gave the kind of performance deserving of a packed house. With only a couple of digital singles behind them at that time, the set was a great showcase for things to come. For the few people smart enough to be there that night, memories were made watching Rhii Williams approaching the drums in a really rhythmic yet heavy fashion, while frontman Charlie Fitzgerald cranked out fuzzy riffs as if his life depended on it. There was no doubt that Little Thief were destined for future greatness.
Not to be confused with the independent progressive rock band from Finland, the UK Evil Owl are hard, retro and grubby. On their self-titled EP from 2018, this Bristolian trio take the garage rock base of Brockley Forest and load it with the kind of distortion and arty noise that fuelled the Sonic Youth classics ‘Sister’ and ‘Evol’ and throw in a few influences from Mudhoney and Tad for good measure. The result is a genuine blast of guitar driven anger – four songs with a retro heart but also loaded with a timeless, fuzzy appeal.
The Run Up are five friends from Bristol, always ready to bring the world big riffs and bigger choruses. Their brand of pop-punk is tougher than most, but within the riffs comes a fantastic sense of all things melodic, always allowing great hooks to catch the listener. Their debut album, a self-titled affair from 2017, presented a solid half hour’s worth of material but, if anything, this follow up EP is even better. The short format suggests the band have really streamlined their approach and decided to only share the very best tracks this time around.
When Brockley Forest released their ‘Die Has Been Cast’ EP in 2015, it felt as if the band had reached a turning point. While the raw garage blues of their previous releases still provided the heart of their music, the EPs songs showed a leaner, meaner Forest – slightly more commercial without selling out; by providing bigger hooks on bigger songs, they really stretched their musical talents. Following a long gap between releases, Brockley Forest’s welcome return with 2018’s ‘Castaway’ is a step forward yet again. The production values on these three songs are terrific. Far removed from a garage based labour of love, the material has as much punch as that Royal Blood LP you all love – even though there are better exponents of that style – and the choruses are more than sizable.
It’s been approximately three years since the world had a new studio recording from Brockley Forest. The band’s third EP, ‘The Die Has Been Cast’ was their biggest sounding to date, but the long awaited follow up, if anything, is even better.