Back in June last year when reviewing the Chemical Friends EP I said “Puppet Rebellion have a rare combination of both great music and lyrical depth that may just see them being the architects of future indie anthems from Manchester“. Since then the Manchester 5-piece have continued to build on the momentum with a host of stunning live performances around their home city and beyond. The release of the 2nd EP No Means Yes marks the start of an exciting 2014 for the band.
Opening track Pirouette leads off with a driving bass line that is complemented by a jagged guitar lick and vocals delivered with a cutting edge. A more refined sound than previous output with a subtle melody that comes alive in the chorus to which you’ll be singing along to like an old friend in no time. The guitar work at the back end of the track then lifts it to another level.
Second track, Cupboards Painted Red, showcases a side not seen before with Puppet Rebellion, a take on the ballad. The sombre refrained guitar sound and muted drums provide the perfect accompaniment allowing the vocal talent of Simon Monaghan to really shine with a range not seen before on previous material and a heartfelt delivery that can only come from a subject close to the heart.
Loner in Disguise continues with the more melodic sound, a well crafted track that shows how far Puppet Rebellion have come in a relatively short space of time. Intricate guitar licks are interspersed with more angular riffs, the rhythm section perfectly in harmony with each other and the vocals set the atmosphere of the track brilliantly, thought-provoking in one moment and cuttingly sarcastic the next. The subtle changes in this track stand out for me, the change in tempo, the chord progressions, the tone of vocal. Clever, mature songwriting.
Next up is live favourite Green Eyed Monster, a punchy track that’s direct in both its sound and lyrics. Punky bassline, pounding drums combined with power guitar and a singer with a snarl. Shooting straight from the hip the subtlety of the previous 3 tracks has been replaced by an in your face style that proves Puppet Rebellion can rock-out when required!
The final track is a bonus remix of Chemical Friends from the first EP of the same name. The band ran a competition to find a dance remix of the track, with the Cai Caslavinieri dubstep style interpretation being the winner. Whilst the ideal was innovative and the track has been put together well, it doesn’t sit right with the rest of the EP for me. A minor point in an otherwise excellent EP.
No Means Yes is a definite progression and shows a band maturing in their song writing and expanding their sound. The Chemical Friends EP had the instant quality to whisk you off your feet, the second installment now adding the refined subtleness to keep you hooked.
2. Cupboards Painted Red
3. Loner in Disguise
4. Green Eyed Monster
5. Chemical Friends (Cai Caslavinieri Remix)