They are a well-rounded, insanely talented group who have perfected the heartfelt ballad, the rock anthem and the gritty angst of punk and have remarkably told their eclectic story in a mere thirty minutes
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For full disclosure, we cannot confirm or deny the identity of this mysterious Andrew, but by the looks of it he is missing out on one heck of a party. But it seems that Manchester based punk rock quartet Without Andrew are doing a damn fine job on their own, especially upon the release of third album ‘Dead on Arrival’.
If you didn’t know who these guys were before, they certainly introduce themselves perfectly with the battle cry introduction to ‘Lost Souls’. With an air of Asheatoangels, erratic riffs and dramatic percussion blast this record into life with effortlessly flawless vocals. This theme runs heavily throughout ‘Dead on Arrival’ in ‘Freefall’ and ‘Sanctuary’, but ‘Vault 13’ leaves a little hole of disappointment, as running for shy of 2 minutes, it just doesn’t feel complete: it is simply crying out for another epic riff or verse.
There is not much time to dwell on this niggle however, as we are immediately renewed by ‘Devil’ with sensationally driving drums and heavier guitars bringing a true sense of movement to this piece. The use of harmonies from all the members is inspiring to hear, against the gruff chanting, this certainly is a well brought together track.
Politically driven ‘Fuck You, You’re a Racist’ sits as an unusual mid-way interlude in ‘Dead on Arrival’, with throwback Green Day feels bringing a sense of nostalgia. Is this a song to be taken seriously? Probably not, but it’s definitely something that a room of passionate fans can shout back at Without Andrew at a gig.
Something that must be noted about this band is their ability to throw a complete curveball, not only from one song to the next, but even within one song. Much like with ‘Fuck You, You’re a Racist’, in the sense that it might have been quite what you were expecting, Without Andrew throw us another nugget of unexpectedness in ‘Broken Hands’. What begins with sassy bass and ballsy riffs, literally hits the brakes halfway through, almost as if to pause the listener and soak in the Without Andrew experience. And so you should, because these words are raw, pure in heart and actually, quite emotional to listen to.
And in true unanticipated fashion, we have another stark comparison in ‘It Doesn’t Seem So Bad’. Inherently a refreshingly feel-good rock song, highly reminiscent of early 2000’s Bowling for Soup or Sum 41, we see a completed different side to this band. With boldly upbeat riffs and lyrics to match, it’s impossible not to bop along to this track and takes you back to those carefree, teenage days listening to Noughties American pop rock bands.
The finale ‘Burn Me Up’ takes another left turn with a beautifully piano led piece, delicately married alongside equally graceful lead vocals and harmonies. It’s astonishing how professional this track comes together and builds, each layer intricately balanced and placed exactly where it needs to be to create this magical crescendo. And with the help of guest vocals from Mikey Lord [of As Sirens Fall], the sincerity of the words come to life, of being vulnerable and making mistakes, the very definition of being human but an overall uplifting positivity radiates throughout this piece.
If ‘Dead on Arrival’ has taught us anything, it is to never judge a band on their first few tracks. If you had been foolish to do so, then you might have written Without Andrew off as ‘just another punk rock band’, and for that, shame on you. This band are so much more than the sassy punk vibes that they exude so well. They are a well-rounded, insanely talented group who have perfected the heartfelt ballad, the rock anthem and the gritty angst of punk and have remarkably told their eclectic story in a mere thirty minutes.
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