Hot Press Album Review: Axis Of ‘Finding St Kilda’

25 03 2013

Here’s a reprint of my review of the new Axis Of record.


Finding St Kilda (Smalltown America)

Three and a half stars

Key Track: ‘Aung’


Ok, let’s get the big-eared pachyderm out of the room nice and early. Yes, it has seemed to take an eon for Portstewart-born but Belfast-based trio Axis Of to release their debut offering, but the riotous slab of wax was most certainly worth the wait. Not quite a “punk” record, but an opus steeped in the values of that scene, Finding St Kilda is full of pleasingly prickly choruses, riffs which could level a mountain and oodles of goose-bump-inducing outsider anthems. Featuring 11 tracks over the course of 34 minutes, Axis Of’s first record sees the band not so much wearing their hearts on their sleeves, but rather nailing the still beating ventricles to the slab of wax for the world to see and the passion and belief in what they’re doing informs the music with a thoroughly righteous sense of purpose.


Opening with ‘Cardiel,’ the song is a punchy effort packed with gang vocals, a nursery rhyme-style melody and even a nod to ‘So You Wanna Be A Boxer’ from Bugsy Malone and it leaves us without a shadow of a doubt that they’ve come out fighting from the get-go. Album highlight is ‘Aung,’ which sees a fuzz-laden, decidedly groovy riff do battle with a superfast hardcore punk chorus, but ‘We Dine On Seeds,’ which boasts a badass brass section at the halfway point of the song, gives it a run for its money.


If there are any criticisms we could make of Finding St Kilda it would be that the constant shift in dynamics can get a little predictable (‘Mapping St Kilda,’ ‘Stan Winston’s Rough Seas’) and at times they’re almost packing too much in, but the vocal performance from Ewen Friers throughout helps makes Axis Of a band to believe in and it’s one of the best debuts this writer has heard in moons.




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