Dublin grunge upstarts Otherkin deliver enjoyable, though sadly samey EP
In two years Otherkin have come a long way. They have gone from relative obscurity, to becoming name stays in their Dublin scene, to playing prestigious festivals, Longitude, having their music used in adverts, releasing a slew of grunge-pop gems and now they are set to release their latest EP.
The 201 EP starts with previous single Ay Ay. This is a great opening track, as those already familiar with the band will immediately recognise this slab of grunge-pop. New listeners however will be drawn the deft interplay between melody and its inventive riff. It’s big loud and proud. It screams “This is us! If you like this you’ll love what you’re about to hear. If not, we don’t care as others will take your place”. Feel It is up next, and carries on the gauntlet laid down by Ay Ay. Sadly, however, it does not exceed what its predecessor started. While there isn’t anything massively wrong with it, it doesn’t deliver the same punch.
20 to 11 and Love is a Liability close the EP. Like Feel It, they fail to live up to the opening salvo of Ay Ay. While their chugging riffs are catchy, and choruses sing-a-long-able, you feel that something is missing. You get the impression that whilst Otherkin are trying to re-create their live sets, a visceral rush of blood to the head, they’ve forgotten to work on the songs as much as they should. Even a bad song can sound great live through feedback and stage presence, this doesn’t always come off on record, or MP3. While this feels like a slightly missed trick, Otherkin’s youthful effervescence keep the songs moving and from falling over.
The EP does have its downsides however. The production feels lo-fi at times, which immediately translates the bands ethos, but sometimes the songs suffer as in the mix, it all bleeds into one. Also it’s hard to differentiate between the songs. This is partly down to the confines of grunge-pop. Everything is played fast and while the songs are catchy, the musicianship sometimes lets it down. Frontman Luke Reilly’s limited range doesn’t help matters at time. Yes he does ramp up the attitude, and you are convinced he means what he sings, but it’s all at the same level. Having said that, this is a strong EP that shows why Otherkin have garnered the attention they have. The next release will be crucial as it could make and break their career, but for now, just enjoy these twelve minutes of grunge-pop fun.