Black Thistles, the coolest (if only) rock band to ever come out of Exmouth, have release their second EP, Pop Quiz. The EP is a collection of four brash, youthful songs, much in the vein of their previous work, which will likely add more punch to the band’s live shows.
Perhaps the easiest way to summarise Black Thistles’ sound is to say that you can tell these guys grew up listening to iconic early and mid-2000s indie bands, specifically of the British variety. Their sarcastic lyrics, screeching guitars and nonchalant-sounding vocal delivery all lend to a distinctly Arctic Monkeys feel, which is pulled off effectively.
First track, 22655, opens with some enticing “Ooh la la’s” à la Oberhofer and a jangly guitar riff. It’s a catchy song that could easily be a lost B-Side to I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor.
Rich Kids sees the band run further in the direction of sarcastic social criticism. The track is a comment snobby, privileged people (perhaps a stab at the more affluent Exetah students?) with a lazy cadence to the melody that adds to the sense of disillusionment expressed in the lyrics, complimented by the sharp guitar work.
Forget Me Not Factory is another catchy track with solid drum and guitar work, but features dubious lyric “I like it when you’re quiet and I’m kissing you” said of a girl who is trying to sound important, while Man O’ War is probably the heaviest track on the EP, and features some really interesting changes of tempo, which highlight the band’s ability as musicians.
Overall this is a solid second effort from a very exciting up-and-coming Devonian band. The material will probably translate even better in a live setting than it does on record, since their recorded material does still sound a bit like a band trying to find their own niche within the indie sound. Still, the raucous energy and catchiness of the band suggests we can expect good things from Black Thistles.