As you listen to the intro of opening track Graze, you may have to double check that you haven’t put Smashing Pumpkins on by accident. The squealing lead guitar over the distorted, power-chord heavy rhythm is very Billy Corganified, in fact all three tracks on Noose are as grungey as a heart shaped box full of fuzz pedals.
The clean-cut vocals lack the angst of most grunge songs, but the guitars are full of it and the contrast between the two is enjoyable. It’s a sign that Downers have their own style and dynamics, rather than just rehashing the early 1990s.
Noose is the second EP from northern four-piece Downers who describe themselves as Grunge Pop-Rock, which is startlingly accurate. Most fusion genres aren’t that clean cut in which elements are owed to which genre, but in the case of Downers the guitars are grunge and the vocals are pop-rock. That is until the last thirty seconds of the EP, when the backing vocals reveal the kind of rock roar the overdriven guitars lead you to expect.
If Graze is Smashing Pumpkins inspired, then Grown Out owes more to Nirvana, with its moody, muted verse giving way to a gloriously noisy chorus in true Pixies-inspired Cobain style. The drummer also enters full Dave Gröhl mode, providing a solid beat to tie together the wild guitar sounds.
With grunge tinged bands like Wolf Alice, Drenge and Downers gaining popularity, Noose sees more of the Seattle sound leaking into the 21st century, and it’s very welcome.
Noose is out on August 1st.