You just can’t keep these sad lads down. Since releasing their debut EP last year, Dude Trips have been making waves within their respective Scottish scene, and for good reason. Whilst the national post-emo scene is becoming more and more saturated by the minute, the Aberdeenshire quintet successfully managed to distance themselves from the rest of herd with their raw and candid approach to the genre. Despite it being not even a year since the release of their last offering, Dude Trips are back with their second EP, Keepsake.
EP opener ‘Silhouette’ kicks things off sharpish with it’s immediate drum fill. Much like the material on their Sad Lads EP, it’s familiar and loyal to the tones and atmospherics of their respective genre but presents a sharp level of individualism. The most striking element of this track is how the group have polished and honed their sound since the release of Sad Lads. The grit and rawness are all still present, but it sounds like the act have progressed dramatically in skill in the past year. Second track ‘Bottoms Up’ helps solidify this statement, with its moody and slightly nostalgic vibe shining through masterfully. There’s an appeasing sense of adolescence flowing through this record but presented and mastered in a way that most DIY and young acts can only aspire to achieve.
‘Same Blood’ follows this sentiment, with another melancholic, nostalgic and youthful outlook on the topic of coming of age. It’s gritty, rough but emotionally lifting and therapeutic. In an age were bands within this genre purposely attempt to create a clean and whitewashed sound, it’s incredibly remedial to hear a band who collectively wear their DIY aesthetics on their sleeve and appreciate how vital such elements can be. Lead single ‘Bleak’ shows a bit of a contrast though, with the group presenting some clean and refined fretwork to accompany the rough atmospheric qualities they master. The Scottish tinged vocals come into their own within this track, with the raspy and raw talents perfectly complementing and highlighting the nostalgic and adolescent themes being documented. Finally, EP closer ‘Flower’ does a fantastic job in displaying how well this group can create anthemic tunes without substituting musical integrity. It’s a massive singalong that’s heavily reminiscent of the roots and origins of this genre yet sounding unique and homegrown.
In all, Dude Trips have gone above and beyond all expectations with Keepsake. Flexible, unique and entirely homegrown, the band have firmly established their own sound within a genre that’s often labelled as being chock-a-block with cookie-cutter acts. In just about 2 years, Dude Trips have achieved something that most young acts take years to accomplish. Big up the sad lads, you’re going to be hearing a lot about them this year.