Mussel Head - Mussel Head EP (EP Review)
year - 2017
Mussel Head is the debut release by Coventry based grunge/alternative rock band of the same name.
Opening the EP with Monkey Bone the band use a steady drum beat and melancholic vocals that display a depressing tone, but thankfully are not overly "heart-broken" like bands in the Emo genre, from the get go the band show a talent of creating an emotional vibe that is not too whiney or agitating to a listener. The band all come in for the chorus with explosive guitar riffs and heavy grunge vocals that sound as if they're straight from the 90s Seattle scene. A strong way to start off the EP, keeping listeners interested for the second track..
Ache starts off on a much heavier note, then quickly juxtapositions to a smooth melodic light guitar riff with the similarly melancholic vocals, but again this track goes into a atmospheric distorted attack of frustration as the band seem to let out their anger. Ache feels less grunge like than Monkey bone, offering a heavier alternative rock sound that will certainly induce mosh pits during the chorus. The best part of this song is the atmosphere in the vocals and guitar, they connect and land well with the listener. only two songs in and Mussel Head manage to show off their instrumental skill.
Criminal Run is a, like the previous tracks, rather bipolar, going from reverb guitars to screams and crunchy guitar riffs - this may put some off, as some do not enjoy tracks with contrasting styles/tones, however for what Mussel Head appear to be going for, it works. It shows angst, but in a mature and clever way, this isn't a band of 15 year olds screaming about their girlfriends leaving them, Mussel Head are better than that, instead they use bright lyricism that is consistently strong throughout the EP.
Five Penny piece is a strong track, opening with female vocals, adding a different sound that keeps the listener interested, making Mussel Head not repetitive.
The instrumentals on Five Penny Piece are much more melodic but build up to a great climactic ending that makes the song easily one of the highlights from the already strong EP.
Mussel Head close the EP with Foreign Voices, a song that is lighter in sound and much calmer too, it works as a great ending to the EP, with a brilliant guitar solo closing the song, Mussel Head did the difficult job of ending the EP on a strong note, just like opening in a captivating, the band have clearly understood the importance of having a satisfying ending to any EP/album.
Mussel Head are clearly a strong band destined for great things with a sound that is unique but also borrows from the already loved grunge sound, making it easily accessible for a new listener. A great first EP with impressive production and direction, this band could be the next big band on the alternative scene. Mussel Head are an act to watch.
By Daniel A Clarke