Build Rebuild opens up with ‘Year Old Ghost’. You might think you are mistakenly listening to recent AFL Grand Final darlings, ‘The Temper Trap’. Only this is them in the few seconds before they drop through the floor into a giant cheese grater. It’s a quiet-loud arrangement with Zac Ward’s wide array of guitar effects as they do on the whole EP, getting a solid workout. The atmospheric quiet sections are musically where all the boys shine, all their parts gelling nicely. Michael Winnane-Ewing’s descending bass and Ward’s guitar arpeggio patterns playfully tap your ears before the aural bashing of the choruses. This is the song formula you’ll find mostly on the EP and is hopefully representative of the musical direction Spilt Cities plan to take.
‘Broken’ re-enforces this hope with its similar soft-quiet UK punk roots and lyrically it is the most connective. It’s also is the most well balanced arrangement dynamically on the EP. Violin and Ward’s space-walking guitar makes for the most gentle section you’ll find on the EP about ¾ through the song. And your ears will need this respite! Drummer James Porteous shines with the song’s tom-snare switching to beat drumming ideas.
‘Ashes In The End’ builds in one long crescendo growing to a roaring guitar ending. Evolving proudly to a dignified heavy stomp, Michael Kinnane’s overdriven bass thwangs the song out to a post apocalyptic feeling ending. It’s also the lead singer and the group’s primary lyric writer, Shaun Rodan’s best vocal on the EP. The ghostly doubled and slightly delayed vocal is the best chance you’ll get to get a taste of Rodan’s metaphoric lyric writing on the EP. “I need a new city, in my veins” announces the songs about to head into its final destructive moments.
This is where the EP begins to get a bit off track. Rodan pushes his vocal style dial from screaming punk to hardcore groar vocals in many passages. Sometimes this is confusing and can be counter-productive. Song arrangement and the guy’s parts also seem to slip away incoherently and in uncomplimentary directions. “Apparent Horizon” is a good example of this. A song of two halves, Rodan’s vocal in the second section of the song spills again from UK punkville to groar town. Buried in the 2nd section of the song is a great little passage which should be plucked out and given its own song treatment. Purely instrumental, the first half of the song is boring and could find you forwarding to the next track and missing it altogether.
In a drunken sailor stupor swaying from moments of semi-consciousness to violent outbursts, ‘The Ship’ tetters on the edge of madness for madness sake. But this ship has no rudder and is directionless. It’s a shipwreck.
All bands starting out usually are born bearing their musical influences. Sometimes ‘Build/Rebuild’ seems to be a patchwork of these ideas desperate not to ever conform to being typical. (It’s okay to resolve to a tonic even just once; if even in only one song). It can be a bit exhaustive as listener by the end of the EP. However, the first three tracks prove the band’s potent potential particularly considering they only formed mid 2011.
Shaun Rodan – Vocals, Guitar.
Zac Ward – Guitar.
Michael Kinnane Ewings – Bass.
James Porteous – Drums
Local newcomers SPILT CITIES Build/Rebuild