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One of the best up and coming Aussie bands right now outside of metal, hardcore and whatever indie-rock band or new King Gizzard record Triple J are currently losing their shit over is Eat Your Heart Out. The Newcastle alt-rock/pop-punk band really is on the cusp of greatness and they’re taking the correct steps towards said success with their familiar sounding yet solid new EP, ‘Mind Games‘.
At the risk of me simply splitting hairs, ‘Mind Games‘ is a sub-genre shifter between the passionate, emotional hook-riddled pop-punk of the now and the song structures, tones and chord progressions of early-mid 2000’s alternative rock. While the former aspect is where the NSW band really hits their stride (opener ‘Rust‘, ‘Rock Bottom‘ and ‘Conscience‘) and while the latter element – the alt-rock side of things (‘Cellophane‘ and ‘Landslide‘) – is never bad, I much preferred it when Eat Your Heart Out aimed higher, more melodic and faster with their bright, poppy punk attitudes. Because they just nail it so much better than they do their alt-rock sounds, it draws you in so much more effectively – namely due to the tight drumming of Jake Cronin, vocalist Caitlin Henry’s strong melodies, and the gnarly bass tones of Dom Norton – and I really do hope the band pursues such sounds deeper and further on their future releases.
For those who don’t know, Eat Your Heart Out aren’t just a young band in terms of their collective’s lifespan, their five members are also relatively young in the grand scheme of things too. As such their music reflects the challenges of maturation, adulthood, growing up and the ever-changing shitshow that so often is life. All meaning that ‘Mind Games‘ is a very emotional release and the blue-haired person shown on the EP’s front cover is definitely a homage to the band’s vocalist, making this EP all the more autobiographical in its lyrics.
Case firmly in my point, ‘Rust‘ is a short and sweet punk rock burst of energy about growing up and shaking off the baggage and “rust” that comes with age (“confusing rust with age, I think I’ve lost my taste for change“); something that hits home for an early twenty-something like myself. ‘Cellophane‘ – a more alt-rocky cut – is about holding onto those happier memories and thoughts for when shit gets really tough and taking the time to iron out your innermost feelings (“I’ll wrap my brain up in cellophane/My thoughts displayed so I cut out the grey/It starts the same but I’ll take the blame/gave my thoughts away, save myself for a better day“). Mid-EP standout ‘Conscience‘ is about uttering those harsh words that you can never take back and burning bridges in the process; the kind of moment that I think we’ve all been in at various points in our lives (“Too late, I’ve said too much/Set fire to everything I touch/Give me time to clear my conscience“). Also, the guest feature here from Movements‘ vocalist, Patrick Miranda, works very well for the song’s bridge section where he shows up but his voice contrasts with Henry’s vocals really nicely.
Elsewhere, ‘Rock Bottom‘ is about trying to find a compromise and reach out to those close to you are really hurting or perhaps it’s the inverse where you’re the one looking out at a bright and sunny world behind pulled curtains (“take my hand when things get hard/we can meet in the middle if it’s not too far“). Whatever the case may be, it’s a banger of a song! Elsewhere, the potential-next-single ‘Better Late Than Never‘ is about making amends and doing the right thing… even if takes time for you to do so, whereas closer ‘Landslide‘ is about the internal tug-of-war between one’s mental health, anxiety and depression and the constant fight to win over self-doubting voice in your head (“I was searching my insides, are you caught in a landslide?/Tried to beg for help, but there was no one in sight“). It’s all an honest and forthright lyrical release, backed up by four utterly killer pop-punk tunes and two merely decent alt-rock tracks, all combining for what is a mostly smooth, well-rounded EP.
Of course, no piece about Eat Your Heart Out is truly complete without talking about the vocals of Henry. The thick Aussie-twang in Henry’s vocals are as Australian as debating over what to call a chicken parmigiana, headbutting former prime ministers and denying human rights to refugees. Which is to say they’re very fucking Aussie-sounding! Yet I often feel like I’m the only one who really gets. it. As most of the time, when I show friends Eat Your Heart Out’s music (always starting out with ‘Patience‘ because I like to put my best foot forward), its the vocals that nearly always put them off the band. Yet in a genre full of cookie-cutter sounding bands who regurgitate each other’s songs and styles, these Newcastle up and comers are separating themselves due to the accent and timbre of their vocalist. Which really sets them apart from the pack I feel, for better or for worse.
Plus, EYHO really know how to write good songs, solid hooks and deliver wicked, memorable choruses, which is half the battle with this genre.
It’s not the be-all, end-all release I’d personally hoped for and while nothing here is quite on par with the utter barn burner that was ‘Patience’, Eat Your Heart Out’s new EP is a solid effort from one of Australia’s best up and coming pop-punk acts. ‘Mind Games’ happily and suitably fills in the gap between the band’s three-track EP ‘Carried Away’, their label debut under their new home, Fearless Records and fills in time before they eventually shit, get off the pot and release a full-length record. And I think they’re more than up to that challenge!
3. Conscience (feat. Patrick Miranda)
4. Better Late Than Never
5. Rock Bottom
‘Mind Games’ is out now via Fearless Records – go and get it here.