by Thomas Bedward November 16, 2020
While the world has been stuck in lockdown and losing the plot, Guernsey’s Coastal Fire Dept. have kept their eyes firmly on the future. After impressing fans and critics around the world with the release of their debut album in 2019, and the blitzkrieg rock anthem of ‘You Are Stuck’ earlier this year, the band had set the bar for grunge filled rock releases, but now, with the release of their new online-only EP, they’ve raised it even further.
A sharp, introductory release that sets the stage for the forthcoming album, ‘Radio’ is a quickfire release that cuts right to the heart of the Coastal Fire Dept.’s sound, promising nothing but massive alt-rock epics and delivering in spades. Recorded at Apocalypse Studios with long-time collaborator Mickey Ferbrache, and featuring the great Tyler Edmonds of Last of The Light Brigade, ‘Radio’ is everything we’ve come to expect from Coastal Fire Dept. and more.
Opening with ‘Fight the Scene’, the EP wastes no time in making a mark, hitting with an immediate assault of crashing percussion, massive guitar chords, and fittingly animalistic vocals. Cut from the same weathered cloth as the Pixies, Pavement, and the legendary Jesus and Mary Chain, ‘Fight the Scene’ is wrapped in an invigorating DIY aesthetic that perfectly suits the band, offering up a maelstrom of huge musical movements. An enjoyable slice of rock rebellion, it’s a perfect opening anthem that few will be able to stand against.
Second cut ‘Coco’ clears the stage with an unabashed punk sound, hitting with brutal force and layering titanic alt-rock melodies with a spiked industrial sound. Guitars howl and the drums break with undeniable force, while all around that stellar bassline pushes things along, laying down a relentless stage that frontman Ollie tears through with his snarling, sensational vocals. As the latter half the EP comes into view, ‘The Message’ rings with Tyler Edmond’s vocals, creating a sombre soundscape that layers stark atmospherics with a bold, grunge laden sound. Filled with elements of modern balladry and wrapped in fierce energy, it’s easily one of the most moving and affecting tracks on the EP.
A natural successor to ‘The Message’, closing number ‘Same As You’ sees the band continuing to prove that they can write more complex and textured pieces, stripping back the raucous rock ‘n’ roll sounds and letting their tracks develop some true and intoxicating depth. It’s an evocative final cut, one that lingers on the palette and keeps ringing in your ears long after it’s faded to silence.
In the band’s own words, the new EP is an “alt-rock grungy EP polished for radio play”, and that’s exactly what they’ve given us on ‘Radio’. It’s rough and ready, brilliantly produced, and brought to life flawlessly, making it without a doubt, one of the most important EP’s of 2020.
Set for release on Friday, the 4th of December, ‘Radio’ is the sign of a band on the rise, and while you might have to wait a little while longer to hear it, you can stream a special acoustic performance of ‘The Message’ that band recorded live at GNet Radio earlier this year.
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