Words by Ed King – follow him @EdKing2210 / Photo from www.sidavisphotography.co.uk
Out today, Monday 4th August, is the new Howlin’ EP from Broken Witt Rebels.
Available for ‘worldwide digital download’, the five track Howlin’ EP can be bought from the usual online suspects, iTunes & Amazon, or by visiting the Broken Witt Rebels’ website – the conveniently named www.brokenwittrebels.com
And whilst the Howlin’ EP launch party is now a distant memory from the tail end of July, you can see Broken Witt Rebels play at The Oobleck (the old Medicine Bar, Custard Factory) on 30th August.
So what’s Howlin’ EP like? I’ll be honest, the first time I heard Broken Witt Rebels I registered very little, other than ‘loud’. Perhaps there was a global crisis breaking, perhaps a dramatic cabinet reshuffle. Perhaps I was remembering Denise Richards in Wild Things… but I couldn’t even tell you what the name of the track was – whatever I listened to went in one ear, rolled around, and fell out the other.
But I do remember the email, or at least the tone of the email; I’m a believer in good communication and Broken Witt Rebels presented themselves professionally – an odd rarity in local bands, with success (whatever you perceive that to be) being no yardstick to civility.
And when an invitation ‘for writing an EP Review for our new EP’ landed in my inbox, with a YouTube link to the official video for Shake Me Down – the opening track on Howlin’ EP, I thought yeah. They seem like a decent bunch, and with half a mug of tea left…
Shake Me Down opens with a Bluesy guitar riff that immediately makes me lean back; my shoulders drop and my elbows rest against the side of my stomach. I take, a deep, breath. And another. Then, 18 seconds in, a confident electric punch catches the left side of my jaw. What the fu… I steady my feet, bring my elbows up and forward, expecting a flurry of ROCK GUITAR intent on pushing me back.
But at 40/1secs, break…
“I keep running to you; it’s in the way, she keeps calling, me out.”
As James Tranter’s dominating six strings step left and Danny Core’s awesome vocals step in. I don’t remember this.
Bottom of the Hill follows, with Tranter’s guitar taking the centre immediately – Core coming in like the devil in a sharp suit. “You’re going down sugar, that’s where you lay…” Big room Blues Rock deftly delivered.
The remaining 3 tracks are a further lesson in Americana/Blues/Rock 101, with a faster build intro setting up Cloud My Day and getting me on the Air Drums by 26seconds in.
Howlin’, the eponymous third track, is clawing for an arena crowd who know precisely what to yell at 52/3 seconds (clue’s in the title). Whilst Queen Bee closes the set with a misleadingly soft start before the power chords kick in, alongside the most growling of Core’s vocals on the entire EP – “I’m dowwwwwn by the rivvver.” Like a lion on its best behaviour.
The exchanges between Tranter’s guitar and Core’s vocals bring a constant energy (which I know is a contrived description but that’s what it is) to Broken Witt Revels, whilst the solid back line from ‘Luke Davis’s muddy harmonic bass playing and Anthony Bryne’s thunderous drumming’ set a confident pace (and as for those descriptions, if it ‘aint broke don’t fix it).
Riff, drop, vocals, rhythm, drop , vocals, punch – their sound is constant, sharp and effective; plus Broken Witt Rebels can play and Danny Core can certainly sing. The only downside being when the cracks do start show, like a somewhat messy chorus to Cloud My Day and a guitar solo that should have been given a bit more room at the end of Howlin’, you notice it more. But suck it up lads that’s the price of getting it right.
And as for the wider world of music…
I don’t understand (despair at) what makes a successful band today, with the mild dross from Birmingham’s Indie scene getting an undeserved amount of attention in the past few years. But if someone out there has some experience, money, time, a nice tidy studio and a lucrative distribution network, giving Broken Witt Rebels a look may not be a bad move.
And the next email I get asking me to review something from Broken Witt Rebels, its good odds I’ll remember them that time.
Shake Me Down – official video
Howlin’ EP is out from today – Monday 4th August, available for digital download on iTunes and Amazon. For more on Broken Witt Rebels, including links to online purchases, visit www.brokenwittrebels.com
Broken Witt Rebels play The Oobleck on Saturday 30th August. For further info, visit http://theoobleck.co.uk/