Since forming in 2012, Leeds band Down Radio have really hit the ground running: making a name for themselves as a well-established band within the city (and further afield), as well as pleasing gig goers and creating a real link between themselves and their audience.
After this period of development, the band are now ready to release their first EP, entitled ‘Transmission’. As with their live sets, Down Radio’s remit with this EP is to produce something that fuses together the best parts of the diverse music they love. In their own words, they set out to ‘try to smash them all together in hope that others will feel the vibe.’
Although this statement makes it sound as though the music on ‘Transmission’ might be sloppy, it is anything but that. Right from the outset, this EP hits hard, with an almost authentic dub sound that sounds a lot more Kingston than Kirkstall. ‘The Instigator’ (track one on the EP), begins with thick bass that lays underneath teasing 1 drop reggae guitar and synth. The track then develops with a gentle riff-led verse, juxtaposed by powerfully intent lyrics spat out over the top. Ed Cottle (vocals) considers this a personal favourite track for him on the EP. “I feel like The Instigator combines our hip hop, dub and drum ‘n’ bass influences, without sounding like a mismatch of sounds and ideas”, he stated recently. These sentiments are clearly the reason that this song was chosen as the opener, as it is a clear statement of the band’s intentions and abilities.
It’s always a difficult balance for a band: on the one hand trying to ensure that the tracks on a release fit together, while also trying to ensure that they are able to stand alone as great pieces of music. Throughout ‘Transmission’ there are clear features that run through each track, such as the often minimalist start to the tracks – which highlight the quality of Down Radio’s rhythm section. Or, the deep bass grooves, which often have a gritty sub feel to them. However, one thing that does jump out on each track is Ed Cottle’s vocals. The obvious comparison is with Zack de la Rocha, however, Cottle does definitely have a style of his own that displays a range of influences, from reggae vocalists to classic hip-hop artists, who all have one thing in common – a distaste for the status quo.
This 5 track EP ends with ‘Rain’, another track that Down Radio pinpoint as a favourite. Personally, this song is the real highlight of ‘Transmission’. Here, all the elements seem to fit together perfectly, beginning in a much gentler fashion and then building to an aptly placed powerful crescendo. Although the lyrics are dispensed faster on this track, the smoother, precise and more tempered delivery gives the track a moving and sincere feel. ‘Rain’ displays Down Radio’s ability to pull together their influences in an engaging way that will be appealing to a wide audience.
Throughout ‘Transmission’ Down Radio display a great skill for crafting songs that engage with their influences in an exciting way. The sound here is precise, powerful and exciting. However, it is right at the end of this EP that the band really finds their feet to produce something special. With that in mind, this EP is clearly a sign of even better things to come.
‘Transmission’ will be released on 1st October 2014.
Available as a download from all good online outlets (Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play,Last.fm, Spotify, Napster, 7Digital, and Rhapsody)
Follow the band @DownRadioMusic
Filed under: Music