Indie music is always perceived as going through a difficult time; but this is different. There is more demand than ever for the six string to have a presence in the domineering world of the dance/hip hop infused genre; Yet the indie scene is overcrowded, and it appears even harder for bands to create their own identity without joining the saturated list of the generic.
After raising some important industry eyebrows at this year’s SXSW and Great Escape Festival, The Lines release their new EP ‘NO ILLUSIONS, NO CHEAP TRICKS’, following their debut single ‘Domino Effect’. The opener which shares the EP’s title kicks off with orchestral violins and electronic processed beats in a Kasabian-esque swagger. And the EP does what an EP should, by providing experimentalism over consistency.
Though the Wolverhampton four-piece do well to keep an identity throughout, it’s clear the band are eager to experiment, with each track bearing no relation to the other. Others may view ‘No Illusions, No Cheap Tricks’ as the stand out track, purely from its uniqueness and experimentalism, but heavier tracks, ‘Fickle Crowds’ and ‘Foundations’ enter Pete & The Pirates territory showing greater depth and character.
Frontman Alex Ohm’s vocals add a needed uniqueness and fits well, in both the softer and heavier tracks, but regrettably lacks in expressiveness lyrically – a familiar theme from their previous efforts. The EP also provides a remix of ‘El Matador’ showcasing their openness to alternative influences, and as previously mentioned; a Kasabian type grit to juxtapose the opening track.
Having sat on the sidelines over the past few years supporting the likes of The Maccabees, Editors and The Killers; The Lines have had a number of influence and comparison references including a few from me, possibly placing a harsher burden on them than they deserve. The band are scratching on the surface of what could be really good. ‘Has potential’ has always been the unfortunate word associated with this band. Yet this is an EP, not a full album. Echoes of The Verve and The Courteeners (and even Hot Chip from the remix) provide a curiosity and intrigue about where this band are headed, and ‘NO ILLUSIONS, NO CHEAP TRICKS’ has done just enough to draw eyes to future material.