The Damage Appreciation EP is the first release by British punk band Max Raptor on their new record label, Hassle Records. This is a great opportunity for Max Raptor, making them label-mates with great bands such as Lonely The Brave, Balance and Composure, and Frnkiero And The Cellabration. Hassle Records alumni include Four Year Strong and City And Colour, and this could be the next big step to greatness they need.
The EP is a precursor to an album due out early next year, which has curbed my initial disappointment that the EP is only four tracks long. What did disappoint was that of the four songs, there was only one that was new to me. Damage Appreciation, the title track, and Blue On Red have both been released as singles, and Population has been played at a few gigs in the last year. But, for someone who doesn’t know Max Raptor, this EP is a great introduction to their angry, fun, head-banging music.
Damage Appreciation (the title track) is a fast-paced, politically charged start to the EP that isn’t as musically heavy as some of the offerings from the last album, Mother’s Ruin, but is full of the statements that we have come to know and love from Max Raptor. This is highlighted in the poignant, grayscale music video featuring the four band members, released on Vevo early in November. This song leads on to equally-as-political track 2, Population. Population is much more anthemic than Damage Appreciation, and is the highlight of the EP. It is heavier and seems to be designed for the live audience. It is angry and has a point and a chorus that has and will be yelled back into the face of frontman Will Ray at gigs, just like some of the best songs in their history – The Patron Saint of Nothing and Obey the Whips, to name a couple. It’s the kind of song you want to listen to walking to campus for some angry motivation or on the way home from a marathon in the library for some angry relief.
Track 3, Blue On Red, has similar elements to Population – it’s angry and anthemic – but it doesn’t manage it as successfully as Population does. It’s still a fun song with a message and again it translates really well to a live environment. See Me Through is the final track on the EP and is the surprise element. It is different to the other three tracks and sounds more like the tracks on their 2011 debut EP, Portraits. Having said that, it also has a development, with a softer and more melodic vocal in the second half of the song, supported by a strong bassline at the bridge, different to most Max Raptor tracks. In many ways the beginning and the end of the track sounds like two different songs, but it is an interesting look into the potential future sounds that we can expect from Max Raptor.
The Damage Appreciation EP is a great release by Max Raptor. If the range of songs on this four track EP gives us a taste of what the album is going to be like, then I would recommend spending a little bit of your student loan on both. And as an added bonus, I found it a lot easier to write essays charging along to the pace of Population. The disappointment is being left wanting more, and knowing there’s at least two months before we get it.