Though the digital V physical debate still rages in earnest in all corners of the music industry one thing is certain: split EPs are still a cool idea. All the advantages of the condensed nature of an EP with the promotional, or street cred, advantage of tapping into another band’s fan base. What’s not to love?
This particular EP sees Swallows and Northern spitting and seething their way through two tracks each in less than 10 minutes. This isn’t so much a case of bang for your buck as it is being suddenly and swiftly mugged down a dark alleyway.
Despite obviously sharing a similar passion for the same kind of aggressive music both sets of tracks are pretty distinct. Northern’s half of the EP focuses much more on a direct and distinctly punk rock feel while the Swallows tracks, “Almost Always” in particular, aims for a more dynamic approach.
If you were to crown a track from each band as superior, the beat-down ridden “Gold” from Northern surely comes out on top with its impassioned stomp. For those after a swift burst of aural violence, you can’t really go wrong with the 1 minute and 39 seconds of this track.
For Swallows it has to be the aforementioned “Almost Always” which demonstrates the band’s tentative steps into much more ambitious song-writing. Even managing to incorporate some tasteful feedback into its slow burn segment. However, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the raw nature of the production on this EP doesn’t serve do this band’s sound as many favour as it does the ferocity of Northern.
Oddly, the one thing that EPs usually have going for them, brevity, feels like a disadvantage here. It won’t take you long to listen to this split, but it might not be quite long enough to get into it either. As a curio release that captures a snapshot of both bands in their evolution though you can’t really fault it. More one for fans of the bands already then an entry point for new converts.
Swallows // Northern is out now via Blunt Records & Promotions and available from either band’s Bandcamp page.