I know we don’t normally review punk bands that much on Sick Chirpse, but I heard Shoey was gonna write something about some shitty hardcore bands he likes so I figured I’d drop a review of my friends in Wolves At Heart’s new EP Write It Down. I also said to Keir that I would plug the pre-order but I didn’t get round to it, so apologies about that dude.
Anyway, during my former life in a touring punk rock band, I was forced to watch some of the shittest ‘local’ bands in history opening up for (or even headlining over to ensure the crowd stayed) my band and there were times when I felt like if I ever had to hear another shitty breakdown or awful attempt at screaming that I might kill myself. Thankfully, Wolves at Heart were one of the few local bands I encountered that didn’t live up (down?) to this cliche and produced exactly the kind of fast, catchy upbeat pop punk that I love. Their old E.P Be Your Own Best Friend was a great slice of ‘modern pop punk’ (for lack of a better phrase) and all the more impressive considering they’re from Scotland which only seems to produce bullshit like Twin Atlantic.
The new E.P. did have me slightly worried as it started with a kind of A Day To Remember-esque crappy breakdown but as soon as the verse and vocals kicked in I was reassured that Wolves At Heart hadn’t thrown their early promise out of the window (and after repeated listens the breakdown doesn’t even bother me anymore). Write It Down is pretty much more of what Wolves at Heart promised with Be Your Own Best Friend: dual vocalled, riff driven pop punk with some intricate guitar work thrown in too. I would say that this record is pretty much just an improved version of the last EP – everything is better: the production (all the more impressive because I think they did it with a friend who isn’t a ‘name’ producer), the guitars, the vocals, the song structures and the dynamics, and you can hear bits of older bands like Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line and Blink 182 combined with newer artists such as Title Fight, Man Overboard and Such Gold to create a modern and fairly unique take on the genre.
I guess one problem that people might have with this band is the whiney Tom Delonge esque vocals. For me though, I’m not one of those people that says stuff like ‘why does he not sound Scottish?? Why doesn’t he sound like where he’s from??’ because frankly I don’t care and it doesn’t really matter that much – i mean when you hear a band for the first time how many people say ‘where the hell are these guys from?’ I can see why it could possibly annoy some people, but for me – having grown up listening to Enema of the State on repeat for most of my teenage years – if anything it’s a plus point.
Lyrically too, Wolves at Heart aren’t amazing, but the heartfelt, honest and believable delivery of the lines mean that only the pickiest of people would draw attention to this. I’m not sure how old these guys are but the songs seem to detail the usual cacophony of subjects associated with the genre: growing up/girls/living up to your potential etc and although the themes are fairly tired the songs are catchy, well produced and uplfiting and that’s the main thing.
Write It Down is a great little EP that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys pop punk that is slightly more on the side of punk rather than pop. My one gripe with it may be that – after the promise of Be Your Own Best Friend – I was expecting a full length from Wolves at Heart (generally bands are judged on full lengths) and this release only serves to whet my appetite for what might happen when that is finally recorded and released. Let’s hope it is soon.
Check out Wolves at Heart at their bandcamp page: Wolves at Heart bandcamp