Debut EP from Bristolian punk-rock quartet One State, opens with Latin Square, a spiky anxious riff over hastily spluttered vocals, that occasionally eases into intriguing lulls that do little to buoy the return to more energetic sections. The band actually works best as instrumentalists, the vocals can be a distraction, and when the band just play they have some interesting – albeit predictable – ideas on this first track.
Scar Song has a brilliant shift from intentionally crappy production into a more polished sound, and would have been a great way to kick off the record. It turns into a lively ska-influenced segment before going a bit skiffle, however, once again, when the vocals arrive it kind of falls apart, lyrics berating modern consumer culture are the stuff of punk rock cliche, and the sentiments expressed aren’t exactly revolutionary (despite the repetition of the term ‘comrades’). But, again, there is a certain appealing energy in the band’s playing and that keeps things just about afloat.
Final track Back To Your Class does reggae The Clash-way, the nasal vocals make some tired remarks about – as the title suggestions – class divisions. Fortunately though there’s a very lengthy downtempo instrumental section that begins around the four minute mark that gives the band members a chance to showcase their real talents, indeed Dan Welch and Joe Blanch’s guitars are quite lovely and the build up towards a cacophonous finale is exhilirating, you just keep your fingers crossed that the singing doesn’t make an unwelcome return.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying the singing is bad, it just doesn’t seem to fit, or, perhaps is there for the sake of filling space. Perhaps a more minimal approach to the vocals would be beneficial for this band who do have some good ideas when it comes to their music, and when they’ve got the room to play around can deliver the goods.