Late Night Fiction – Polar (EP Review)
It is an interesting time for melodic-hardcore. After a spike in popularity in the late 00’s, the genre, in its purest form, seems to have slipped off the radar somewhat. Biffy Clyro ditched their sprawling, unpredictable sound of earlier releases in search of a wider audience, and others, like Yourcodenameis:milo, disbanded.
Late Night Fiction are a welcome trip to the near-past, in this respect. The quartet, based in Hull, cite influences such as Brand New, and Hell is for Heroes – something which is certainly evident in the music. Opening track, Black Watch, boasts killer riffs reminiscent of Biffy’s debut album, Blackened Sky, with unique enough vocals to set them apart from other mere copycat artists. Although the vocals will inevitably be a source of derision for some, as has often been the case with melodic-hardcore, they will undoubtedly find their fanbase amongst those already accustomed to the conventions of the genre. Basically, whilst not revolutionary, the vocals work. Know what to expect, and you’ll be fine.
The music itself does most of the talking, though. Quiet/loud dynamics are deployed throughout the EP, and time signatures and toyed with regularly. Stand out track, Smashy ‘Smashy Beast’ Beast, brings all of these features together to create a progressive, melodic epic. It is free of vocals, and for this reason, sounds almost uncannily like the experimenting of early-Biffy in their studio. However, this is no bad thing. Blackened Sky is a brilliant album with a sound that many fans pray for the band to revisit one day, so this is definitely no cause for concern.
And, speaking of epics, the closing track, ‘Relax Please’, certainly ticks all the boxes. At seven-minutes in length, it displays the vocalist at his most experimental, singing with restraint initially, before exploding into screams towards the conclusion. This one also recalls a sound from the past, in this case, of early-Funeral For A Friend, which again, is no bad thing.
Late Night Fiction unashamedly embrace their influences on Polar, but to their credit, still manage to create something that sounds wholly fresh. It might not be the most original listen of the year, but it is a welcome flashback to a recent past that many, this writer included, will embrace with open arms.