Despite forming at the beginning of 2020, MuddiBrooke haven’t let adversity stop them from getting enough time together to write and record their debut EP. And for a band who haven’t performed live to an audience in-person at the time of recording, the songs found on Lunacy sound well-worn as if they’ve already been rigorously road-tested.
It’s a dark and moody EP, covered in a thick, grungy layer of grime whilst simultaneously shining with melodic moments throughout – perfect listening for those nights drawing in. The trio deliver a full, bulky sound and as the chorus on opener “Devil” kicks in, you know this is a band who means business, especially with its wonderfully misleading slow opening and subsequent verses.
Meanwhile, “Liverpool Guy” and “Straight Jacket” have more teeth to them as more up tempo rockers but very much still within the field of alternative rock/grunge. The brooding yet manic melodies against the lyrical subjects reflect the dichotomy found in the former. Drum beats from Mary Prince help to punctuate the defiance in Harriet McDonnell’s words but there’s a teasing sultriness in her intonations as she evaluates her options. There might not be quite the lung-bursting screams on offer but there’s definitely hints of Lzzy Hale’s lower register akin to Halestorm’s earlier albums in McDonnell’s vocals.
“Straight Jacket” is the most manic and hardest-hitting track on the EP, as McDonnell spills forth her lyrics like a stream of consciousness whilst jagged riffs wrap around them, bathing in Anna Melidone’s snarling bass lines. The dirty punk tone pushes the tempo forward to make a deliberately erratic song which jumps through several hoops before landing back at the start, much like trying to have a conversation with someone dealing with heightened and complex emotions, whether they be borne of joy or sadness or anger.
Despite falling more into the alternative end of the spectrum, there’s a couple of bluesy moments in “Turn to Dust” after its laid back acoustic-driven intro and is the closest the trio verge into ballad territory, bringing it down before finishing strong on “Fake It”. Whilst the closing number is the most complex of the five tracks, it doesn’t feel out of place, instead, it pulls the other four songs together to form a common thread. Bombastic, bluesy, bright tones sit on a chugging riff to blend the different influences into one cohesive listen as complexity, simplicity, darkness and hope mingle.
MuddiBrooke have delivered an incredibly solid EP, setting the bar incredibly high for the follow-up. As they run the gamut of what alternative rock can be as grunge and blues occasionally butt heads, Lunacy hits all the boxes to show everything they can offer so far. And it’s an offering that will only likely grow as they continue to do so too.
Header image by Jason Bridges
Lunacy is out now