EP Review: ‘Scenery’ Deliver Some ‘Old News’
July 6, 2017 Amy Pollock 0 Comments
‘Old News’ is the brand-new EP from Derry-based band Scenery. In case you haven’t heard of them before – they’re a five-piece rock/soul outfit who have been independently releasing music and touring the UK and Ireland since their formation in 2015.
The EP touches on a broad spectrum of subject matters, including depression, infatuation, lust and self-respect. From the very first song, ‘Everyday Type of Guy’, the EP addresses what it’s like coming out of a rough patch of depression and finally finding acceptance. The upbeat nature of the song totally contradicts the meaning behind it, as frontman Stephen Whiteman sings: “Sometimes I get anxious, it makes me hold back; Sometimes I just break down and cry, I guess I’m just not an everyday type of guy”.
Musically, however, ‘Everyday Type of Guy’ is an absolute killer way to introduce an EP. The intro and riff are personal highlights that affirm in a nutshell what this band is all about: soulful funk and powerful sax combined with thick guitar, jarring bass and clashing drums. A one-of-a-kind sound.
‘Fool for You’ is your perfect Sunday morning song. It’s light and delicate in pace and beautifully executed in its delivery – yet the context is well and truly heart-breaking. It’s about not being able to get over one person no matter how hard you try, and you can genuinely hear the sorrow in Whiteman’s voice as he sings: “Baby, I thought I had a chance, I must be crazy; So maybe I’m just a fool for you”.
Whiteman’s vocals remind me of Owen Strathern’s voice from back in his General Fiasco days – however, Whiteman clearly likes to push boundaries and the end result is remarkable. With every song in the EP, Whiteman reaches a new level that goes beyond my expectations, something which is great for feeding a listener’s curiosity, sustaining their interest, and securing their new-found fandom – something I can definitely relate to now.
‘Try You Out’ is based on the experience of meeting someone and being really into them, only to discover they’re already taken. It starts out as a slow, tantalising, almost experiment-like jam, making you wonder what direction the song is heading in. It gradually teases you for a full minute until it suddenly veers off from this relaxed tone and reinvents itself into a definitive, solid beat that remains prominent throughout the rest of the song.
The concluding song, ‘Mad Thing’ refers to a common Derry phrase which generally describes someone who doesn’t have much respect for themselves or others. Lyrically, it’s about not being able to stand someone like that – and instrumentally, it is probably the most surprising track out of the whole EP. Initially, you believe it’s going to be a sassy jazz-style song, as it starts out with a melodic, soulful voice with a foot-tapping saxophone beat before it’s interrupted by complex drums, heavy guitars and high-pitched vocal riffs – making it one of the most unique and exciting tracks to round the EP off. Every instrument has its moment to shine on this track – including a bit of Spanish guitar at the end – something that is very difficult to pull off eloquently in six minutes, but somehow Scenery has managed it to do it effortlessly.
‘Old News’ is certainly something to for Scenery to be proud of, and additionally is something for a Northern Irish listener to be proud of. It has all the right elements of surprise, sass, relatability, honesty, skill and talent that make you wish you could hear more, and reinstates why local talent is, without a doubt, the best talent.