First things first then, that title, one of the longest I have known for an EP, and also one of the best. And this is for no reason other than it amuses me as someone who finds “business speak” totally ridiculous and enjoys it when a band points and laughs at it. I also presume it is a pretty direct reference to the dire financial state of the country, although don’t be expecting the band to be presenting their budget plan in heavy rock form, this is not a finance presentation set to music. And if you think that sounds like a good idea I pity you and I shall never be coming to your house for a dinner party.
Hello Lazarus have for some time been one of the better bands in Bristol. This is their third EP / Mini-Album and impressively is an improvement on their already high standards. They haven’t made radical changes to the alt-rock formula that has served them so well, simply worked out what could be done better. So all the hallmarks of the band are still here, but augmented by an increased sense of melody to such an extent you could justly call it poppy, particularly on Get An Axe which bobs along merrily, still with an underpinning of thunderous drums and crunching guitars but that added pinch of pop seasoning and some well-judged changes of intensity throughout. And it is also notable for some fantastic 80’s rock style backing “woaahs” suggesting the days of double denim and bullet belts are back.
As writers they are not afraid to mix things up, each track has layers of melody and tempo changes galore. EP closer I Am No Explorer starts frenetically but swiftly drops down through the gears before settling into a rhythm it seems to be happy with whilst storming opener When In Rome has down tempo moments but mainly barrels along like a juggernaut with bad brakes. This song also illustrates the lyricism with which they write – “Tonight my name is Caesar, I’m not wearing a crown. Tonight I’ll be your emperor and I’ll burn this city down. But I am not a hero, I’m not even a crook, and you will never read about me in your history book” is not your average rock lyric and illustrates the better than average literacy of this band.
The remaining track Stallions is a more sweeping song, the melody flowing along like a strong rip-tide and it is peppered with fantastic little touches of instrumentation. One of those songs that effortlessly transports you away to another place before snapping you back, it is a very well put together track and goes to show how Hello Lazarus are maturing and developing.
But, despite this progress, their core method remains one of passionately delivered and driven rock, balanced with more reflective, emotive moments and with more hooks than an international fishing competition. And, as is also their habit, it is a recoding with no low or weak points, each track delivers something different but is still stamped clearly with the group’s identity, all the hallmarks of a band destined for greater things.
More on Hello Lazarus and links to buy the EP at www.hellolazarus.com
First published by www.greenmanmusic.biz