Drawing inspiration from classic rock bands such as Guns n Roses and Audioslave, Scottish rockers Concrete Kingdoms have compiled an EP that is a solid starting block from them as an outfit. Titled Concrete Kingdoms; the EP is a story of hard-hitting guitar hooks and a sound that shows which direction the band is heading in.
From the opening chords of ‘Time to Play’, the classic rock influences are easy to hear; the riffs are hook and the lyrics are kept tastefully simple, which is a clever way of making a statement. The song moves at a slower pace than most rock songs, and when coupled with front man Mark Hawthorne’s full vocal, the track becomes full of character and depth. While the repetitive nature of the song is clear (and a recurring theme throughout the four tracks), the purpose behind this shines through - Concrete Kingdoms keeps rock and roll simple and clean.
‘Die This Day’ opens with a bass riff that has brilliant depth and tone, before the track launches into an upbeat tempo. It picks up the pace of the release, with panned guitars, layered vocals, and varying guitar riffs and hooks ensuring the song is dynamic and interesting.
An onslaught of riffs becomes the classic-sounding chugging guitars of ‘Same Old Same’. The track has been approached at a different angle, with the vocal lines bringing more zest, power, and certainly becoming the main focus of the song. There’s more harmony between the vocals and the music; the band haven’t tried to pack too much into the song’s 4 minutes, while the production and subtle additions of keys and varying guitar tones add complexity to the track.
After forgiving them for the mistakes that are made on most debut releases, it’s clear that Concrete Kingdoms are forging quite the path for themselves. While there is room for growth and experimentation with their sound and songwriting style, the Scots have begun their journey into rock with aplomb, and begun to create a sound that is signature to their name.