ARTIST: WOES 

TITLE: SELF HELP 

LABEL: UNFD

RATING: 7/10 

Masterfully produced by Neck Deep and WSTR legend Seb Barlow, the latest EP from Woes packs a punch and hints of a band leaping ahead of their game. “We made a conscious decision to write distinctive sounding songs,” said the Edinburgh pop-punkers of the five tracks on the EP. “We would only work on a piece of music if it made you feel something.” The collection of songs that appear on ‘Self Help’ certainly do that, testament to the rapid development of a band who show no signs of slowing down, currently touring with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and booked to play Download, Slam Dunk and Galaxy Camp as well as UK headline tours in May and June.

starting off with ‘High On You’, the track begins with some delicately picked clean guitar sounds before ramping up with the fast paced drums and heavier guitars. Containing arpeggios and plenty of space throughout, the peaks and troughs in this carefully constructed opener showcase a band honing their songwriting skills to the max, including a well chosen pause that’s sure to set off the mosh pit during live shows when it kicks back in again.

Angsty love song ‘Real World’ has a tension building middle eight with a rhythmic tinny heartbeat sound rapidly beating its way into the final chorus, and ‘Losing Time’ has definitely got the best guitar hook of the five tracks, almost buried in the mix but still important enough to stand out on this upbeat pop-punk anthem, shimmering through the punchy drums.

‘Over It’ has a slightly different sound to the others, stepping away from more traditional pop-punk to explore minor notes and melodies, with a relentless rhythm section taking the track to a dramatic conclusion. It’s moody and dark, suggesting the singer isn’t really as “over it” as he might like to admit.

Perhaps the most interesting track on the collection musically, however, is ‘HLB2’. Starting off with a piano and having a jazzy, laid back R&B feel to the verses, it has a slower, more drawn out melody, and definitely isn’t the type of thing you expect from your stereotypical pop punk record. “I remember when I first demoed HLB2 I was so excited about it,” said singer DJ. “I knew it had something really special….Lyrically, the song is about trying to get it together with someone you have a casual thing with, and it not working out and the kind of self-reflections that come from that kind of experience.”

The EP definitely shows a different side to the band, and if they continue to keep exploring and pushing the boundaries like this, their career is set to be an interesting and long one indeed.

WORDS: BEC SIMPSON

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