EP REVIEW: Habberdash – ‘ Morning After The Madness’

'I didn’t, for no reason I can put my finger on, expect to like this EP, but I’ve ended up loving it. Go listen, turn up real loud, and listen'

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So while Habberdash might bill themselves as an alternative rock band the material on this EP comes with a whole load of ‘but hold on that’s all a bit…’. Sometimes it’s pop tinged alternative rock with hugely hummable tunes, sometimes it’s huge 80s’ AOR song tinged, sometimes it sounds like some classic US rock-pop thing but they hang together, there’s a recognisable ‘Habberdash thing’ going on.

The EP opener ‘Superstar’ is at first at least sounding like a classic alternative rock track, soaring melodies, that quiet/loud thing. But what grabs you first about this song, and for that matter the rest of the EP, is the vocals. The vocals rock people, the backing vocals rock. The other thing is the guitar, the break on this track is a screaming tumbling thing that just rips you apart. But the other thing, the important thing. is that the tune is instantly hummable, it has hooks aplenty.

With ‘Hear You Say’ my first thought was ‘quite what the fuck, that’s all bit big AOR track, and aaargh it’s suddenly gone all slightly hair metal’. This isn’t a bad thing by the way there’s nothing wrong with a great hair metal track, nothing in the least, and it’s only a hint, a chanted vocal there, a powerchord here. And the tune, that’s a killer, instant singalong. But there’s a kicker, something suddenly unexpected, it suddenly launches into something akin to the weird radio section in ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’, with this great bit (not going to ruin that for you, you’re going to have to actually listen to this thing) that actually had me fighting back a huge laugh. But it works, it’s huge.

And then we are in big teen US movie soundtrack ‘Like A Lover’ is this huge rock slightly poppy thing that has these great keyboards. A dropout section that adds what sound like female vocals. A tune that sounds well, epic. It has this feel that lifts your heart and fills you with joy. Granted I have this rather uncharacteristic liking (as my friends have told me) for 80s and 90s big teen movies but one of the reasons I like them is the soundtracks, it’s about the only time I let myself listen to those big rock pop tracks. This would slot in very very nicely.

The EP closer ‘What Do We Know’ is slightly more raucous, but no less huge. It sits more closely in that alternative rock bracket but it has a pop edge that gives it this ‘that tune is great, perhaps I’ll play it again’ thing. And I just adore the almost chanted chorus, and what we might describe as the almost casual use of fx on the vocals.

I didn’t, for no reason I can put my finger on, expect to like this EP, but I’ve ended up loving it. It’s the huge tunes, the guitar, the vocals, the hooks, the clever use of keyboards. I love the moments where the band don’t take themselves too seriously. I love music where when it rocks it rocks hard. And I really love music that sounds better the louder you play it. This does all of that. Go listen, turn up real loud, and listen.

The info

The Habberdash story began in 2013 as friends armed with the verve and determination to deliver music that is both packed with infectious melodies and their own amalgam of guitar-driven alternative pop-rock. The band ride an eclectic wave of musical influences including Lower Than Atlantis, The Beatles, Nirvana, Issues, Don Broco, Twin Atlantic and Bruno Mars.

In late 2017, the band consisting of Kriss Stainton (Vox), Hayden Marshall (Bass), Ashley Houlden (Guitar) and Andrew Holland (Drums), headed into TreeHouse Studios to develop new material under the guiding wing of producer Daniel Jeffery. This collection of material forms their attention grabbing new EP ‘Morning After The Madness’.

In recent months of 2018 the band’s recognition and popularity has grown in stature following the release of the anthemic pop-tinged alt-rocker ‘Like A Lover’ and the harder hitting modern rock vibes of ‘What Do We Know’.

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