REVIEW: Excuses Excuses – Frame of Mind

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Canada’s Excuses Excuses couldn’t have come at a better time; when the world is in crisis, not quite sure what the future holds, along comes this plucky punk three-piece who write songs with a message behind them, as well as gritty hooks and soaring melodies.

Excuses Excuses have something authentic about them; there’s this earthy, grounded honesty in their heartfelt anthems and provocative lyrics that make us want to stick by them before we’ve even got to grips with what they’re about. Perhaps it’s the smooth patience of opener ‘The Outsider’, with it’s soothing, Jimmy Eat World feel without being too abrupt or brash, as many punks bands are.

The rest of the EP takes on a similar formula, adopting a genuine punk ethic without forcing themselves upon us. Their approach, which stays low-key alt-rock in ‘Alibis’ and ‘Rewind!’, is more like bands such as Taking Back Sunday and Motion City Soundtrack, who are too edgy to be considered pop, but not quite audacious enough to be full-throttle, anarchic punk rock. They’re getting their message across without bashing us around the head with it, and we quite enjoy that.

We hear the musicality of this band- something else that sets them apart from most straight-up punk bands- in ‘Frame of Mind’, particularly with its twiddly guitar and funky, indie vibes; a little like Arctic Monkeys… but less northern. The record ends on ‘(Is That) What You Meant?’, probably the punchiest number of the lot with its melodic angst and gnarly, sweet vocals, clearly drawing influence from the likes of Green Day– another band who have something to say, but prefer to just do the talking and let us do the thinking for ourselves.

Much of Frame of Mind is spent waiting to experience that heart-stopping, breath-taking ‘moment’. The EP reaches great heights several times, but never quite grasps that pivotal climax; they’ve got the message, they’ve got the hooks, and if Excuses Excuses manage to achieve that peak with their next release, they’ve got the chance to make a truly great record.

Frame of Mind by Excuses Excuses is released on 25th November via self-release.

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