The plethora of pop-punk bands mixing the classic pop-punk sound with melodic hardcore riffs and breakdowns in the past year or so has been astonishing. With bands like Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals and A Day To Remember paving the way for the genre to explode, imitators are expected. Luckily, there are bands like, Glasgow, Scotland-based Wolves At Heart to change up the basic sound of this genre, and with their second physical EP Write It Down, Wolves At Heart make a fair attempt at standing out.
Now just because Write It Down features very common elements and song structure, that’s not to say that it isn’t a good effort. Opener “Fingers Crossed” starts things off on a very dull note as a very simplistic riff backed by chugging guitars leads us through the beginning of the album.
After the lackluster opener ceases, this five song EP finally shows some initiative and takes off with the incredibly catchy “Half the Losing Battle” and the upbeat “It’s Time to Go Home,” both of which are very reminiscent of early The Starting Line. Given a glance over, it wouldn’t be wrong to call these songs bland and boring, but when actually given full attention, the band’s instrumenation shines through. While lead vocalist Keir O’Donnell’s one-dimensional singing isn’t anything to rave about, the way it meshes with the stellar musicianship on these two tracks makes for a fun, interesting listen. Though the previous two songs are absolute jams, it isn’t until the opening riff of “Why Did I Even Come Here?” rings through the speakers that Wolves At Heart finally reach their full potential. Also very reminiscent of The Starting Line, “Why Did I Even Come Here?” showcases a much more passionate, heartfelt sound than Write It Down‘s three previous tracks. With soaring guitars, fancy drum work and an enormous chorus that would make Kenny Vasoli proud, Wolves At Heart deliver a fun, sing-along jam in rather impressive fashion.
Concluding the EP is the title track that serves as a very basic pop-punk song, which isn’t necassarily a bad thing, but it takes away from how well the previous track had hit and leaves much more to be desired. With a rather generic song structure and the less-than-desired inclusion of tiresome chugging guitars in the verses, “Write It Down” doesn’t do the rest of the EP the justice that it actually deserves, and instead ends the album on a rather unimpressive note.
At the end of the day, Wolves At Heart are maintaining the expectation of nearly every band of this caliber: respectable. While nothing mind-blowing or genre changing is happening in this fun EP, one still has to respect the effort these gentlemen put into it. This EP is just four young guys having a blast writing music together, as it should be. They just so happen to have succeeded in unveiling some young, Scottish talent while ultimately providing a rather pleasing listen in the process as well.