Alternative rock is a fairly woolly term nowadays. Mainly because it’s the alternative from anything which is deemed “mainstream” but then, isn’t rock in itself an alternative to the mainstream? Yet, there’s no other way to describe In the Cards’ sound. Because it’s an alternative to everything else currently being played by rock bands.
Existentialism aside, the Stoke quartet provide rock far more mellow than its most famous son. What they do share, though, is authenticity. That’s brought out by the production from Romesh Dodangoda (who coincidentally produced Motörhead once upon a time) and their minimalist sound. Melodic and delving into Halestorm’s more pop moments, there’s soaring vocals backed with enough of a punchy guitar to still call it rock.
Putting Amy Colclough’s voice helps maintain this balance, matching delicate vocals with moments of power. Whilst they may not be as heavy as Skarlett Riot, there’s definitely similarities. “Beautiful Silence” shows the band at their best with hard-hitting lyrics and drums to match from Conor Chambers. Then there’s the guitar solo from Danny Jones, technically proficient, it’s not overbearing, showing restraint yet gritty enough to keep matters delightfully heavy.
Meanwhile, tracks like “The Only Thing” and “Mazes” show their softer side. There’s hints of The Dirty Youth and more with Colclough again showing off her vocal range to its full extent. “Hollow Hearts” is laced with emotion and peaks and valleys pinned together with a gnarly guitar solo – it’s hard to pick out individual influences from Jones’s playing and whilst it may be subdued for most of the EP, it has room to breathe where needed.
Sure, there’s pop tones to the rock sound of In the Cards but they bend it into an alternative rock sound. Eyes Beyond Reflection may not be the heaviest thing you’ll ever hear but it’ll ensure it grips you for its five tracks. In the last couple of years where rock bands are grabbing from the same influences to make something similar or completely different, In the Cards have gone one better and taken from different influences from the norm and given us something truly alternative.
Eyes Beyond Reflection is released 22nd June