The Underrruners, 'No God No King'
The first thing that hits you round the face (and the ears) about The Underrruners' eagerly awaited debut LP, 'No God No King' is arguably the strength of its homage to the power euphoria of the 1980s and the nod to the likes of The Cure and Killing Joke. Delve a little deeper however into the foray of the mix, and the punk spirit that underpins the content, and you'll soon see that this is a far trickier beast to label, let alone compartmentalise into any sort of media-friendly package.
This is a gutsy album, with artwork that sets the tone for an outright revolution using fantastic fictitious rebel imagery that could well be legit to the untrained eye (and unfamiliar ear). Opener 'Joyrider undoubtedly' takes its cues from a wholesome 1980s alt rock pilgrimage to which many of the subsequent tracks pay homage but the production is ultimately pretty clean across the board, adding clarity to the spiralling, spangly guitar-play courtesy of Pete Vincent, crispness to the rich vocals and bouncy bass-lines of Dave Roca and an almost unsettling sharpness to the powerful yet straightforward tempos punched out by drummer Eva Menon.
This isn't your run of the mill punk album, nor it a shameless Cure imitation. Sometimes the guitar leads off into unknown territory which leaves some songs feeling a little unfinished at times, though this mostly lends charisma to the stories told and the rallying cries laid bare in the songs. I feel as though the album would be improved with some more texture, perhaps in the form of some backing vocals or an even greater deviation from the band's clear yet by no means copycat-ed, influences.
Ultimately, the ability to gently navigate between storytelling narrative and fist-pumping, soaring anthem is a great skill indeed - and this album, in spite of the double-negative that crowns its title, is to be commended for its forthright-ness and proactivity,
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