New Music: Braxton Hicks – The Bench EP

Yeah, I know, you’ve heard the name. I’m not saying we don’t have history, or at least I don’t have history with Braxton Hicks. I’ve known lead singer Joe Hovis (think about it) for years, and recently he write a couple of things for us about punk for Backseat Mafia. But this is no kiss-ass payment for future services rendered. I was going to give Braxton Hicks a look in anyway.

Coming up to being a year old (Joe having put an advert out in July 2012) the North Wales three-piece, Joe being joined by Neil Crud (ex-Sons of Selina) on bass and drummer Gwion, have been out and about all over north wales and beyond honing their skills, and playing with legends such as UK Subs and Goldblade along the way.

Following on from their debut ep ‘The Bench’ comes recently released ‘The Bench’ EP, which came out on the Link2Wales label. Opening track Gone Fishin’ is instantly reminiscent of the DIY classic punk groups from the beginning of Punk, almost TV Personalities in its charm, although the shadow of NoFX and indeed the UK Subs, as well as the ghost of Welsh punk of the past (Anhrefn et al)

Second track on the EP is a case in point, the song being Poison by Rancid. No, not a cover – more a eulogy to that song, Hovis saying ‘makes me glad I don’t waste any more years / on you scumbags I thought we were close / Poison by Rancid just sums it all up’. It’s shows that Hovis’ voice can change gear to all sneering, grating punk front man, and the band add an appropriately enthusiastic racket (and I mean that in a good way) underneath.

This Song was never written carries on at a furious pace, this punk esthetic not getting in the way of what are actually deeply personal lyrics ‘I’ve never written a love song and this one won’t be the first’ sings Hovis, before taking us around the houses of saying just about everything but the dreaded ‘L’ word. The music, though simple, drives on, its catchiness taking the listen along with it for the ride.

The final track on the ep is ‘Depression / Scream it out’, revisiting theme’s that appeared in the first ep as well. It’s classic punk riffs mean that you can almost guess what is coming, but it’s the personal (or at least Hovis putting himself in the state of mind) lyrics ‘Depression breaks inside of me / I wanna sleep 20 hours a day / Can’t bring myself to shower or shave / and I feel nothing when I see a woman’s body’ sings Hovis. Although the track is short, in true punk style, for us its the strongest and most musically ambitious track on the ep.

Yeah, its straight up punk, classic style, which we’ve all heard before. But its catchy, interesting and what sets it apart is Hovis himself, his persona and particularly lyrically, stretching his band beyond the usual punk subject matter.  Buy it, yes  kiss ass? Well, not yet.

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