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COLD YEARS – NORTHERN BLUE (EP REVIEW)

Following the impressive surge of melodic rock in the early years of the decade, alternative music seems to have taken a big step back for those of us to tend to stick with mainstream releases, disguised and overshadowed by the plethora of indie rock and electro-pop acts that have brought us into the new year. That said, one band in particular is still drawing influence from those anthemic punk roots we all once loved. Aberdeen four-piece Cold Years return with a brand new EP titled Northern Blue, echoing Gaslight Anthem favourites and finding the perfect balance between heart-pounding, bluesy punk rock and angsty Americana anthems.

The EP’s opening track ‘Seasons’ bursts in with an exhilarating pop-punk riff, contrasted almost instantly by the remarkable, accent-tinged vocals of frontman Ross Gordon. With an underlying influence from bands such as Hot Water Music and The Ataris, the song marks an accidental ode to early noughties punk rock, carefully sidestepping any accidental herd mentality as Cold Years stamp it with their own signature style of emotional vocals and strong, melodic guitar work.

‘Miss You to Death’ maintains an upbeat pace, switching to a subtle eighties-inspired atmosphere presiding over a steady, pounding drum beat. Reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen and scattered with lyrical themes of nostalgia, lost love and heartbreak, it’s a beautiful track that highlights the band’s talents incredibly well and leaves no room for doubt that Cold Years are definitely ones to watch.

‘What I Lost’ takes a more laid-back approach as Fraser Allan’s unwavering drum work sets the pace, and an effortless run of smooth guitar riffs blend together with Gordon’s heartfelt vocal work. Following the theme of the first two tracks, there’s an air of nostalgia here that fits brilliantly with the band’s sound, despite marking a filler track that leads into fourth track ‘Final Call’. Occupying the middle-ground between Sam McTrusty and Brian Fallon, Gordon is on his way to recognition for his powerful, and immaculate vocal work here, securing this track as an instant EP highlight. Taking the form of a soft and bittersweet favourite packed tight with emotional intensity, the album closer is comprised of light acoustic riffs and heart-wrenching power chords, complimented by gentle vocals and themes of newfound love and moving on, representing a sequel to ‘Miss You to Death’.

Northern Blue EP is due out on March 2nd via Homebound Records.