ep review ~ serotonin ~ 'gestures'

In a rock and roll landscape as varied and eclectic as Belfast’s, it’s incredibly rare for a style or genre not to have been explored, embraced and ultimately adopted by the musicians that make it exactly that. However for too long, this country has lacked a band with the attitude and melodic hooks that America seems to never cease in producing. Bidding to change that come Serotonin, a young five piece from Belfast whose dynamic live performances, energetic conviction and carefully crafted alt-rock has seen their profiles rise from rebellious upstarts to genuine contenders for the crown of this country’s most exciting new band.

Opening with the full frontal assault of ‘Cleanse Me’, a grunge tinged explosion of big hitting riffs and atmospheric vocals. Serotonin open their recording debut with the simple instruction of “Don’t be alarmed…”, an acerbic message to the indie kids of the 21st century, devoid of the angst driven rock bands like A Plastic Rose left us with before their move across the water. Front-woman Lucy Loane’s tone is unfaltering, as she belts out every note of this electric opener, nearly screaming the final lines with the head banging passion of a live performance, a difficult skill to master during any recording process. Every bit as cynical as the title suggests, Serotonin show their emersion in the melancholic throughout, as the menacing aggression of their wall of sound engulfs a fine start to the EP.

This is followed by the quite brilliant ‘Cold Coffee’, which has quite rightfully been deemed the bands trump card since its subtle introduction to their setlists months ago.  A ‘Cure’ styled build up of melodic dual guitars provide the back drop to a song bursting with heart and though it may not be their style, the kind of pop hooks bands of bigger stature often fail to capture. A rare and exciting amalgamation, which goes some way to highlight Serotonin’s appeal beyond that of their target demographic, IE those felt let down by the consistent stream of classic rock or sparkling indie that seems on offer. Drummer Mark McDaid’s steady rhythms and occasional bursts of grandeur allow the rest of the group to fully express themselves, whilst Loane’s vocals continue to impress, the passion and belief evident in every lyric. It’s evident from the opening hypnotic riff to the big hitting chorus, that ‘Cold Coffee’ is a special track. Shimmering with feeling and building to that empowering finale, it’s the signature song which may prove very significant in the long run. You can imagine a room full of clenched fists, rising as one as Serotonin emerge back to the stage for an encore. Is this thinking too far ahead for a band still in it’s infancy? Perhaps, but with lyrics like;

“Turn over pages progressively,
Broken palms shiver, the same to me,
You are so idle so trapped confined,
Cold coffee scratches away the time”

This sort of dreaming is well and truly justified.

Emerging next from the bands repertoire comes ‘Daytime TV’, a track which based on title alone could easily be regarded as a Radiohead B-Side. What we are given here is another foreboding effort, this time building in a darker, yet more soulful sequence. The additional overlaid guitars shine a melodic light onto the dark canvas of Ben Bryson’s slow bass riffs. If ‘Cold Coffee’ is the mainstream potential ‘hit’ from the EP, then ‘Daytime TV’ is one for the more dedicated fans, emerging synths and beautifully integrated notes produce a song of immense creativity. It may also be Loane’s best vocal performance yet, particularly on the perfectly executed falsetto of ‘a mind built on reruns of Daytime TV’. The sparse soundscapes and delicate vocals sweep and swoon like a darker ‘The 1975’. An unexpected and welcome addition.

Final track ‘Idle Hands’ returns Serotonin to their alt-rock roots, a Paramore styled introduction which would not look out of place on ‘All We Know Is Falling’ providing an engaging opening. As the bridge then bursts into life the emergence of resplendently grunge guitar creates a fascinating contrast to the pristine verses, resulting in an almost orchestral fusion, the backbone provided by the ever solid McDaid. In a final chorus worthy of a debut of this quality, ‘Idle Hands’ ascends to a breakdown of noisy ambiance, an ‘OK Computer’ inspired guitar solo leading to the abrupt ending of a band that have no need to overcomplicate matters.

Starting their musical journeys on the outskirts of the mainstream, the release of ‘Gestures’ is Serotonin’s bid to push themselves to the forefront of a scene who have been crying out for brand new saviours for too long.

Taylor Johnson

If you like ~ No Doubt | Paramore | DIIVE ~ You’ll Love Serotonin

Keep up to date with all official Serotonin news on the links below...

No comments

Powered by Blogger.