Uniforms (of Dundee, Scotland) have not been a band for a long time, just over a year old. In that short time they have done more than most, shown big plans and big ambition, and this new EP shows those threats were justified for sure.
Having known these guys in all their former bands over the years and years I have been involved in the Scottish punk scene, it's great when you can hear something new that you can actually 100 percent get behind, and show some belief in. Something that you can tell has been crafted from blood sweat and tears, and years on the clock. Opener "Note to Self" will draw you in with its chirpy opening riffs just in time to hit you with lyrical content of "The fear, the dread, the crippling anxiety / It`ll be the death of me"–these themes continue throughout the track, tackling the emotional toll on surviving in a band these days. A theme continued in the driving melodies and singalong choruses of "This is Not a Joke." I was hooked at this point, really great stuff.
Its apparent that Uniforms are finding hope from these times, and these challenges they are facing as grown men now in a functioning band, grown men with jobs, rents to pay and personal lives to juggle.
"If we lose the drive / We're driving home" rings out during "The Fear," probably my favorite track of the release. Dealing with the fact that such brightness can be found from the fear of losing all your hopes and dreams, so much so it becomes your drive, your reason to keep on keeping on. A lesson to any musician or band that you are going to feel that way, you may not always be prepared for it, or expect it, but you need to dig it out and make the best of it. The realization that answers may not be found at home, but may lie out on the road, is a refreshing perspective.
If there is to be a criticism of the release, I would offer that tracks four and five suffer from following on from the first three tracks. Not that they are poor tracks, far from it, "Subtle, Mate" closes out the EP in great fashion with a thumping outro jam session which will (does) work awesome at a live show, preceded by "Heads Down Thumbs Up," another solid arrangement addressing some social issues with typically wry wit. I was just so taken in by the opening three tracks that I wanted more, more, more and to me the last two were a very slight drop in very high standards.
Most fragments of any punk rock scene at some point or other have been in a band, a DIY band, because there was no other way to do it. Some do well, some outgrow their surroundings but most get pissed off eventually with the grind of long working weeks, weekend shows that sap all your energy and "peace" time, and most of all using your annual holiday entitlement to go on tour. It takes a lot out of you, it takes a lot out of your personal life and commitments and for most, as time drags on, its just not feasible anymore. Some however, a select few, will take all of that experience and see what they can make of it. Share the thoughts as a vehicle for their sanity and survival amongst the often bleak surroundings of modern living. It becomes almost the one true constant in life. You will always question whether there is any point in battling on with it, but plugging in and playing a show brings it all back to fruition, above all else, this is a love of an art form and the belief that someone somewhere listening "gets it" and will take something positive from what you are doing. Young punks should pick this up as a lesson in how to do it right, old/seasoned punks should pick this up as you will feel you know it well, like an old friend, you will undoubtedly know how these guys feel and want to share their next show with them. I sincerely hope that you do. Stirring stuff.
The Spectacular Terry Butcher E.P.