EP REVIEW: Zero Cost – ‘Mouths To Feed’

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What I really like about Hull punk band Zero Cost is that they write great original style punk songs; songs that are about things, about social issues and modern life. This wouldn’t mean anything if they didn’t make some damn music and they do.

Charging straight in, the EP title track, ‘Mouths To Feed’ is all raucous hard guitar and breakneck vocals. If I hear it properly – something not 100% guaranteed – it lyrically addresses the ‘mouths’ of the capitalist system against the mouths of the workers. The system eating up and spitting out the workers, while the working people are forced into working for the system. In short, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What I need to highlight here is whilst it is all raucous guitar there’s a lot of subtle musical touches going on here. Powerful stuff.

‘The Test’ is another breakneck track. But here the band show off their ability to chang e it up. While you may feel the track is going to be all frantically paced, sudden;y they throw in a melodic bit (for want of better phrase). And it’s this that does it for me; it’s the fact that they step out of what you may have expected. Musical surprise is always good,

‘No Way Home’ changes it up. It majors in tunes without, and this is the key, losing the raucous feel. And bloody hell there’s a brillant guitar solo – short and very sweet.

‘Red or Blue’ tackles the upcoming UK and US elections. you might be asking yourself ‘ is this a protest song, a commentary or a call for action?’ It’s actually all three of these. It – if I’m hearing it right – basically calls out both the Left and Right for being ‘the same old same old. And the sound? In a phrase old style punk; breakneck speed, fast throbbing bass, spiky guitars. But it’s clever you see, this is no overwhelming wall of sound, you can hear ALL the instruments, there’s space in the sound. And this gives it power. It sounds fantastic, you got that. Spot on in topic and music, couldn’t ask for anything better.

‘Fidem Ludum’. Well first an explanation, ‘finem ludum’ means end game in Latin (yes, I said Latin) and the song addresses how close we are to a global catastrophic disaster – war and global warning for example. The line ‘100 seconds to midnight’ refers to the time set on the Doomsday Clock – the less time to midnight it is the closer the world is to a possible end. Although originally based on the chances of nuclear conflict, the setting of the Doomsday Clock now includes other factors such as global warning. So this is very much a song for our time. Musically, when I reviewed this as a single I called it out and out mekodic punk, but on a relisten I’m going to change my mind. Yep, there is melodic punk but what makes this track is the touches of punky post-punk – here that scratchy guitar, that big backing vocal, that rolling bass and the searing ringing guitar. An utterly fantastic thing.

And to conclude ‘Eviction Notice’. Oh fuck what they doing to me. They’ve taken their punk sound and melded it with metal. what I can only describe as distopia soundscapes. And made something musically mind blowing. My mind is in bits. Two words to the wise – one this isn’t about what you may have have assumed and two, it doesn’t end when you think it had.

‘Mouths To Feed’ is a set of songs that make a powerful statement. Musically it stretches the envelope of what punk and melodic punk can be; it’s inventive, unexpected and takes your breath away. If you’re a fan of raw, raucous guitars, words with a message and bands who make their own sound; listen to this, listen to this right now.

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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.