Children of the State is the kind of name you expect to belong to a po-faced post-punk band who are heavy on political ranting and light on catchy melodies.
Thankfully the name is misleading. Children of the State’s new EP is a hook-laden and finely-crafted effort that displays their remarkably wide range as well as their love of vintage rock.
The band formed in South Yorkshire two years ago but are now based in Manchester. They’ve clearly taken inspiration from the swagger and melodic songwriting of Mancunian acts such as the Stone Roses and Oasis.
Opening track ‘Hot Money’ is the kind of dark and funky indie-rock that Kasabian were knocking out at their peak. Using the bestselling economics book Freakonomics as an unlikely source of inspiration, the track is blessed with a muscular riff and a sinister aura. Undoubtedly the highlight of the EP, it manages to leave a lasting impression despite being barely two and a half minutes long.
The following song sees a distinct change of style and pace. ‘On A Clear Day You Can See Forever’ is a lush and gently psychedelic track with a distinct 1960s feel. The song’s wistful vibe is in stark contrast to the tense and brooding atmosphere of ‘Hot Money’.
‘Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?’ is similarly inspired by the 1960s, but this time it’s the raw blues-rock of Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones that serves as the influence. The powerful drumming and raucous harmonica are complimented by a chorus that verges on the anthemic.
The EP ends with ‘Give Up The Ghost’, a gentle song that glides along gracefully. John McCullagh’s softly crooned vocals add to the track’s sense of hushed beauty.
The biggest criticism you can make of the EP is its brevity. All four tracks hover around the three-minute mark, resulting in a total running time of just under 12 minutes.
But what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in verve and range. Ironically for a band so clearly influenced by music of the past, Children of the State have a bright future.