Starting out their third EP, Bristol based punk outfit Heavy Lungs open up with Half Full. With an extended intro of rising guitar and drums, coupled with an intrusive and slightly grating feedback screech that is very reminiscent of punk’s roots. Once the song kicks in, you know exactly what you’re in for with the fast, intense and downright dirty stylistic choices. Muffled vocals, with drums that never let up for a second, not even during the more muted moments, and guitar that chugs along whilst feeding into the feedback multiple times.
Self Worth opens on a much deeper note, with low notes ringing out right constantly, coupled with cleverly contrasted snare taps to break up the heavy distortion. The deep baseline and low notes have some of the highest impact going without straying into hardcore or metal territory, making for a low down beast with a bopping solo section towards to two third mark. Add in some extra distortionary after effects and it brings the track together in a beautiful marriage of more modern sensibility and old school rough housing style punk.
The half way mark is T.O.T.B, which feels a little more by the numbers considering It’s lack of distinguishing features to make it unique. Unlike the feedback-laden, intense opener of Half Full and the deep pounding rhythm of Self Worth, T.O.T.B just seems to lack an x-factor that elevates it. Although it isn’t without its redeeming features. The guitar effects that ring out and rabble all over the place from high to low notes in a heartbeat. Combined with a drumbeat that, on the surface sounds like someone just going to town on a drum kit, but is actually a very technical and well put together a string of beats. Despite this, the track still never seems to stand out amongst the others and is easily forgettable after repeat listens despite its well-crafted timings and rhythms.
(A bit of a) Birthday, the lead single from the EP immediately steps right back out into something unique and makes an immediate mark. Sounding like a combination of classic UK punk mixed with early 90’s US grunge. The choice to have an unusual guitar arrangement is what really grabs and never lets go. Having it stop-start for almost the entire track before kicking in during choruses, and stepping up into a rising stepping stone style during the final solo really sets the track out there and reminds you that this is the single. The tongue in cheek lyrics and crude humour just add to the effect with a very ‘up yours’ kind of message and humour hanging over every line.
Rounding out the EP is Pacemaker. With an off beat and unusual timing that repeats on an almost industrial style right through the track, perhaps mimicking a heartbeat as a nod to the track title. The same rhythm seems to continually carry over as the track moves through a variety of different sections in a progressive song structure vs the standard chorus, verse, chorus structure. The back half takes the repetitive and industrial inspired beat to a whole new level till the EP peters out in a gentle and ambient fade that bookends everything nicely in a very close mirror to Half Full’s opening notes.