ARTIST: VICTORY LANE

TITLE: BAREBONES

LABEL: STANDBY RECORDS

RATING: 7/10

WORDS: COLIN CAPP

Victory Lane have released their second EP of bouncy, catchy pop punk tunes and it is a bold statement, displaying the potential this band possess. The EP springs into life with the compelling ‘Just Personal’, throwing the listener straight into the onslaught of memorable lead guitar lines that dominate the music. The song explores different tempos and dynamics and proves instantly that Victory Lane are more than just your typical pop punk band.

‘Life Past 98’ is a song of two halves. The first half continues in the same upbeat fashion as the opener, with another insanely catchy guitar riff, followed by an even catchier chorus. The chant of “not for the faint hearted” is ready made to be yelled back by hordes of fans and shows how capable they are of creating an infectious hook. Then the second half breaks down into an emotional, gut-wrenching ending. The guitars feel heavier, the drums pounding louder than before and emotions presented translate to the listener effortlessly.

“a bold statement, displaying the potential this band possess.”

First single ‘Happy Sad’ is one of the strongest songs of the EP, starting with a catchy riff which then blends into a chilled out verse. Throughout the EP guitarist Dan Rowbottom provides backing vocals and in the verse there is a call and response between him and vocalist Dan Lamb, making for an interesting listen. The chorus presents the strongest vocals on the album, showing the range Lamb is capable of.

‘Creative Control’ seems like the kind of title a band struggling to work together would use, but this song sees them sounding tight together. The upbeat, relentless tune is probably the most typical, straight-up pop punk song on the EP but it gives the impression that the band are truly enjoying playing the music they create by letting loose and embracing the genre they love. The last chorus features a key change which works perfectly and doesn’t end up making you cringe and proves this band can be daring and ambitious to brilliant effect!

The EP comes to a close with the most reflective and slow song ‘Firing Lane’. Lamb and Rowbottom harmonise over the gentle guitar intro before the band prove that there is much more to them than fast paced beats and sing along choruses. The song climaxes with an interesting guitar solo bringing close to a very strong statement from the young band.

“Having the guts to present songs like this is what will make Victory Lane stand out from the crowd”

There’s definitely room for improvement here. At some points the vocals sound quite weak and it sounds like Lamb is attempting to recreate someone else’s voice instead of embracing his own. It’s common for singers to sound weaker on early releases before realising their full potential and hopefully this is something which can be explored in the future.

The music on offer can sound happy and carefree, with soft vocals and uplifting lead guitar lines, however the lyrics present some dark and personal themes. ‘Happy Sad’ reflects on the effect taking anti-depressants can have on the people around you, however most heart wrenching of all is ‘Life Past 98’ which deals with losing a father at a young age. Having the guts to present songs like this is what will make Victory Lane stand out from the crowd and the potential these songs display suggests this band could go on to achieve great things.

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