Sunday 24 February 2019

Upper Downer - S/T EP

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 05 Nov 2018


1. Disarm The Police
2. Somebody Died
3. Alone
4. Dog Food
5. Piss Jug
6. Glue

I went to a local gig on Friday night (first gig in Harrogate for a while and first one I've been to for months) and apart from the hangover yesterday, it was really refreshing to enjoy some local punk again. Upper Downer aren't local, they're from Los Angeles (Cal, USA) but like the bands and mates that I met up with, they're doing it themselves. They reached out to me earlier this month to let me know about their debut EP, which was released digitally in November of last year. In their own words; "alas, we are not a mince core band". They play punk-rock with an anarchic edge and some ska as well.

Upper Downer’s punk is melodic and gritty. Disarm The Police reminds me of Rancid and Strike Anywhere, which is a good sign. It’s upbeat and to-the-point, while the vocals are gruff. This is what US punk (and I suppose pop-punk) was like when it was more political and certainly less polished than the bands that claim it as their genre today. The trio’s ska-influence is obvious on Somebody Died and it’s great. There are comparisons to be found here but there’s also plenty of good reasons to ignore them and to focus on the music that Upper Downer delivers. 

Old-school hardcore punk is the order of the day on Alone and it’s fast pace and short playing time is exactly what’s needed. It’s definitely better when it’s sped up like this. There’s no time for slow ponderous songs here! They head into the second half of the EP with Dog Food, which is a great title by the way! The mix of pop-punk riffs and ska chords during the verses are great, though there’s still some feedback and harshness to remind you that the band are from the streets and and real issues. 

Another amusingly titled song, Piss Jug is just good solid punk with a feel good vibe. Like the rest of the EP, it’s brief but catchy and a song that you’ll remember. EP closer Glue rages to the sound of Upper Downer’s furious drumming, riffs and vocal melodies. They say that they’re influence by NOFX and it’s obvious is those melodies at times. Again it’s no bad thing and it finishes things off in style. Overall this is a really good EP and while it doesn’t break any new ground, it’s got substance and the song-writing chops to back it up. Good stuff!

You can stream and purchase the EP digitally below:-

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