Saturday, 8 July 2017

EP REVIEW: Defeat Statistics - Stressed and Depressed

Despite having previously played in a pop punk band, I’ve never really had all that much time or regard for the genre. Occasionally I’d find a band that I’d enjoy from the scene, particularly Sum 41’s more metal influenced take on it, but apart from that it’s never really piqued my interest. Now, Watford quartet Defeat Statistics have come out with their new EP Stressed and Depressed, presenting just over 10 minutes of modern pop punk with a heavy emo influence on the side. I do have a soft spot for emo, so I figured I’d give this band a shot.

You may remember from my anti-Trump singles rundown in January that Defeat Statistics were featured in that article, with an aggressive hardcore track called “No Justice, No Peace”. If you were expecting more of that on Stressed and Depressed, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the closest you’ll get to hardcore here is some brief screaming in “Sick of Feeling Sick”. From the opener “All My Friends Are In Tour Vans”, it’s clear that Frankie Marriott and co are here to show you their more personal and melodic core sound. Lyrically, it’s not outside the regular topics you’d expect to hear in this sort of genre, but they manage to avoid becoming cliché and paint a good picture of the story Frankie is telling on each track, almost as if they took the lyrics out of their diary. From the struggles of a new band trying to reach an audience, to trying to break out of the confines of their hometown and the fallout of relationships gone sour (the final two tracks, “Sick of Feeling Sick” and “Comfort Zone”), Stressed and Depressed is a very open and personal EP and, whereas many other bands in the scene feel disingenuous about what they’re saying, there is a real sense of honesty and emotion in what Defeat Statistics are singing about.

Musically, it’s not anything new or groundbreaking, but the riffs and chord progressions are catchy and the band performs as a tight unit that’s clearly been through these songs too many times to mention. They know exactly what they’re doing, they’re all in sync with each other and they know how to write good pop punk hooks. There’s even time for a very slick guitar solo at the end of “All My Friends Are In Tour Vans”, to boot. It’s not all 3-chord structures and fast pace though. Despite all 4 tracks clocking in at less than 3 minutes, the title track finds plenty of room for pace changes and slower passages which accurately reflect the state of mind they must have been in when writing the track.

Production wise, it’s a very raw sound, and with the DIY ethos of Defeat Statistics that comes as no surprise. There’s nothing flashy here as allows for the odd mistake here and there, giving Stresses and Depressed a more organic sound than the highly polished and plastic sound of some of the bigger bands in the scene, and that works to their benefit. However, there are times when the mixing feels a little bit inconsistent. The guitars in “Comfort Zone” feel a bit squashed under the vocals while the guitar solo at the end of the opening track is also quite low in the mix. I suppose that these things are something to be expected in a self produced DIY effort, as the group continue to learn their trade and develop as a band. In terms of pure musicianship and songwriting, they’re already well on their way and, despite its short length, Stressed and Depressed is a good sign of things to come.

Stream and purchase Stressed and Depressed below and follow Defeat Statistics on Facebook.