Titling any release ‘Chapter II’ is a bold move: an indicator of a new beginning, albeit one that is reliant on the narrative already established by the opening chapter. In this respect, The Audition, after fulfilling their contractual obligation to Victory Records with 2011’s ‘Great Danger’, play to the pop-rock strengths of their opening chapter, whilst keeping things fresh enough to indicate a celebratory freedom from the looming spectre of the record label. ‘Chapter II’ is, in some respects, an advertisement of The Audition playing to their strengths, and whilst it would be cynical to suggest that the band are flaunting the goods to potential new employers, the EP does showcase the band at their pop-rock best.
‘Who Do You Think You Are’ opens in classically catchy Audition form, proving from the offset that the band will stick true to their already successful pop-rock formula, rather than branching out significantly in another direction. The song is reminiscent of material from the band’s first release, ‘Controversy Loves Company’, and in a similar manner, the second track, ‘You Make Me Sick’, would not sound out of place on their sophomore album, ‘Champion’. The seductive acoustic guitar lures the listener in, before the song explodes into another catchy, soaring pop chorus. Other tracks follow in a similar vein, ‘Evil’’s ‘E-V-I-L’ chants set to become a fan favourite during live shows, and ‘You Gotta Believe’ destined to become an inevitable soundtrack for angsty alternative teenagers.
The opening track of The Audition’s first album opened with the words, ‘Chapter I’. Four albums later, ‘Chapter II’ of their adventure ultimately needs to be embraced for what it is: a band free from the shackles of the corporate recording industry, playing to their strengths, and most importantly, having fun. The EP is nothing original, and none of the tracks are significantly different to material found on their previous albums. But it will please long term fans of the band, many of whom have been acquired through an excessive touring schedule over the last five years, supporting the likes of Biffy Clyro, and taking YouMeAtSix out on their very first tour of America.
If ‘Chapter II’ reveals anything about the next stage of The Audition’s career, it is that the band is sticking true to their core principles ahead of a radical change in direction. And when the music sounds this catchy, who can argue with them?