The spirit of the garage band is one that seems to get lost in the mass of bands emerging with high-production values and flawless recordings. Even emerging punk artists lose their essence to the idea that “if you don’t have good production, nobody will take notice“. In a refreshing change of pace, Suburban Radio’s ‘Step Out’ EP flies in the face of the overproduced ideology with a rough-edged recording style.
It’s something as bold as this that can make or break an act. After all, without the flourishes and embellishments of high production, tracks are forced to stand out based out on their own songwriting merits. And when it comes to this EP, Suburban Radio have material strong enough to shine through.
From the jaunty ska-touched rhythms of opening title track ‘Step Out’, this EP is something special. This is the true punk spirit, resurrected and restored for the 21st century. The catchy indie-rock song, punctuated with garage-punk lead hooks and tempo shifts, opens the EP beautifully before completely dropping the jauntiness for the sombre ‘Isolation’.
As the title suggests, the song encapsulates a lonely atmosphere through self-depreciating lyrics and downbeat instrumentation. A brave follow-up to the upbeat opener, showing another side to the band that is under-represented in ‘Step Out’. The song gradually builds, but still the song is a very controlled and sombre sound – a little jarring sequentially, but nonetheless enjoyable.
The EP closes with acoustic singalong ‘We All Deserve To Be Free’, again showing another side to the act. It’s listed on the tracklisting as ‘(Acoustic)’, implying that there is – or soon will be – a version with full instrumentation. And this is what keeps us dipping into this track – imagining how it could sound, or what kind of indie anthem it will eventually blossom into from the budding potential on display here. This version is a complete stripped tease.
‘Step Out’ is less a full release than a consumable demonstration, showing what the band is capable of and leading you into the future with them – cleverly. There are a lot of avenues presented here for the band to explore, and the implication of a more developed version of ‘…To Be Free’ is a clever way of hooking people. It’s an EP with a lot of potential and one that channels the DIY spirit of punk better than any other we’ve heard lately. Definitely a band to invest your time in, unregrettably.