I wasn’t supposed to be writing this review; I was just idly flicking through some of the recent releases sent to Moshville Times for review and before I knew it I had this EP on repeat. This is testament to what a great listen that Some Things Matter is. It’s almost as though it sought me out and ingrained itself like a tricky little earworm in my brain. Flavour-wise it’s firmly within the 90’s sounding hard rock camp – think Thunder or Black Stone Cherry. Some Things Matter itself is described as an EP but in old money; when getting singles into the charts would have counted; at 6 tracks long, this more like a mini album than an EP.
What’s significant is that this is the debut EP for this Cambridgeshire four piece. Why surprising? Well it has a swagger and confidence and songcraft that seems well beyond the startup of a band and it’s not often that I would have the confidence to proclaim a band this early in their career as a band to watch out for in the future… but Hollowstar are a band that I am convinced will make a big impression on the UK rock scene if this debut is anything to go by.
Opening track “Lay Down” is probably one of the more bluesy inspired tacks and riff wise is slightly reminiscent of All Them Witches, but with a more English feel to it. Probably more 70s UK blues. What is evident from the off though is that Hollowstar are an incredibly tight and talented band and that these guys know how to write a tune and carry it well. It is tracks like “Lay Down” that make you return to this EP again and again. On one level, they are straight forward rock and blues but they have a zeitgeist about them, something that draws you in and makes this a very listenable EP. You can’t help but enjoy the “Lay Down” chorus and revel in the energy of this band.
My favourite track on the EP is the heavily Thunder influenced ballad “Feel The Burn”. Right from the plaintive start to when the empathetic lead riff comes in, taking this song onto a higher level, this track stands out. It’s partly that Thunder sound but partly because with this track Hollowstar demonstrate that they can provide the full hard rock canon. It can’t always be about the rocking out; all good hard rock band need an element of more reflective moments and on this track they have ticked every rule in the rule book. They have every element you want to wish for – great riffs, emotional guitars, sincere vocals, a lead guitar that tells its own story in tangent with the lyrics. Top track from a great EP.
Another of my favourite songs is “Future City”. Again, it probably has that flavour of Thunder but it is the combination of the heavier riffs and quite simply a great rock voice that makes this track stand out. I would go as far to say that Joe Bonson’s vocal delivery is one of the most accomplished and best I have heard in a while. It’s not just about the vocal ability, it is about two extra things for me; delivery and Joe, on this track, proves he has the range and dynamics to change a song and the intensity to engage the listener; and secondly, character. I am not sure this is something you can just invent overnight, but vocals need that character to the voice to really work and this combined with a very good lead guitar is what stood out for me on this EP.
So, an unexpected review from a band that demands your attention. This is a band to watch out for based on the six tracks on display here. We will see if we can catch up with the band in the next few weeks to learn a bit more about them and their plans but I am 100% sure you will be hearing a lot more about and from them in the coming years.
14th June – Robin 2, Wolverhampton
15th June – Portland Arms, Cambridge
17th June – Club 85, Hitchin
18th June – MappFest, Malvern.
23rd June – Gardeners Arms, Ipswich
24th June – Pi Bar, Leicester
30th June – Mama Liz Voodoo Lounge, Stamford
1st July – Needingworth music festival
8th July – Big Weekend, Cambridge
9th July – St Ives Festival
15th July – Parsons Drove Classic and custom car show
4th August – Fort Fest, Bedfordshire, (Main stage)
5th August – Brickmakers, Norwich (w/ New Device)
23rd September – Subterranean Festival, Cambridge
Some Things Matter is out now