Without Parachutes hit the Sydney scene hard in January 2013 with an indie rock, 90’s grunge sound. Their self-titled EP Without Parachutes is composed of a three-piece powerhouse: lead vocals, guitar and synths William Cruger, bass Michael Cooper, and Bob Stewart on drums. The group entirely self recorded, mixed, and mastered in their living room. It’s a strong and clean recording, that living room must have excellent sound. Without Parachutes holds down the underground scene by playing local shows and were even featured at the Raw Emerging Art Festival. They bridge the gap between the Australian music scene’s euphoric indie pop and the heavier alternative sound.
Without Parachutes begins with a breathy, a cappella intro in “It’s Time Again” before the driving rock guitar riff kicks in. The song alternates between Snow Patrol soft vocals and heavier pop rock riffs. The rhythm section provides stops and starts to make the listener eager for the next phrase. Anticipatory pauses foment the building excitement in “It’s Time Again.”
A Michael Jackson style drumbeat sets off “Lights Out,” accompanied by tender keyboards before breaking into the grungier chorus. The guitar solo echoes the chorus melody with a 90’s punk grunge edge. This solo is excellent, it’s not a guitar egomaniac that goes on for minutes, and it compositionally accompanies the rest of the song while adding nuance and complexity.
The third track, “Tip Toe” jumps right into a metal guitar intro that sets the track up a darker vibe than the rest. Halfway through the song, the rhythm pulls back and the vocals “tip toe” through a long, anxious bridge before breaking into the repeated declaration “sing what you love.”
The fourth and final track wins my heart as best track. It has drum breakdowns characteristic of The Runaways, harmonizing yet eerie vocals, “the end is near / it’s clear / it’s closer as the years go by.” The singer’s anxiety about death haunts the listener; it’s as though the time running out on the EP parallels the time running out in our lives. These tragic sentiments, topped off with a killer guitar solo that just builds and builds shine a spotlight on this track.
The guitar riffs and solos along with the creative drum fills and resonant vocals drive this powerhouse EP. Rhythmically the bass is strong but I definitely wanted to hear more bass features. Catch them in Sydney if you can!
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