This is a review of "If You're Scared EP" recorded by Backyards. The review was written by Joe Scrase in 2012.
I've always enjoyed a song or indeed an EP covered with intellectually challenging lyrics, but to find one mixed with the production skills worthy of an expensive LA studio on a debut EP is astonishing!
I have to be honest, prior to hearing the EP I had very limited knowledge of the band, yet after asking around the office I soon got the impression they are a band to be watched in 2012. In fact I've yet to find anything negative to say about either themselves or their music.
After seeing the lovingly designed artwork created by Jenny Evans I can conclude that you can indeed judge a book by its cover (or at least in part), the colourful patterns displayed on the cover work are ones that seem to seep through the layers of porous listening pleasure into the permeable layers of the 4 track EP.
If You're Scared opens with Heavy Handed, an interestingly melodic introduction to help set the tone for an energetic yet two sided EP, one side charming and cute, the other dark and sinister. Just imagine Batman supressed into 17 minutes of acoustical inclination. For the first 20-30 seconds of the introduction I was convinced I had opened the wrong file and instead was listening to a Ghostpoet song, it just had that feeling, you know that sense that there's something special on the way. It's oddly the feeling I get before putting on a track by Lowkey or P J Harvey. This may be an odd comparison however all three are extremely talented artists that deserve to have more publicity for the innovation they provide to the musical world.
After ensuring I had indeed opened the right song, I restarted the track and attempted to take notes. There I was with my pen and a large pink notebook in hand, unaware of the miraculous spell I was about to be summoned under. I found myself unable to stand, yet alone coordinate enough fingers to move in synch to be able to write down anything legible, I was for the first time completely stuck. I couldn't bring myself to stand with the fear I would miss out on even a few seconds of the EP. At every turn there was a surprise, I evaluated that the challenge lies with having the power to guess what the next surprise is going to be. I imagine in a few years' time someone will ask me where I was when I first heard Backyards and to that I can reply 'the first time I heard Backyards I was stuck at a desk unable to move'. I look forward to such a day.
It is songs such as White Horses with their unique flavour that make me truly love my job.
According to iTunes I have played If You're Scared in full, 14 times in the past week alone! A new personal record I believe. Yet I still manage to find something new every time I play it.
It's a truly magnificent record.
I don't wish to spoil the end for you; however I will say that the high production standards founded in the early parts of the EP (Heavy Handed) are evident throughout. It's a work of brilliance. How it is legal to subject someone to this level of excitement compressed into a 17 minute EP is beyond me.
The track list for If you're Scared stands at:
1: Heavy Handed.
2: White Horses.
3:Call To Arms.
Head over to http://www.soundcloud.com/backyards to preview it in full before the band's HUGE launch party with live performances from The White Album and Buffalo Bones on the 15th February at the prestigious Nation of Shopkeepers. Oh and by the way it's totally, completely, 100%, wholly free! http://www.facebook.com/events/252231438180749/