Exmouth’s own Black Thistles launched their newest EP Pop Quiz at a nautically themed boat party in Exmouth itself this August, a unique way to introduce a well rounded and refined EP.
The opening track ‘222655’ (we can only assume this title is a private joke) is a catchy track that follows along nicely from their debut EP Who Cares. Starting with a pop feel “oo oo oo aa” the track continues with a strong drum beat and a typical indie rock style guitar. Fans of Spector might recognise a similar style here in the experimentation with tempo and use of vocal.
“[Pop Quiz] resonates with anyone who lives on soup noodles”
‘Rich Kids’ on the other hand seems to focus primarily on the lyrical element of the track. Lines like “My super noodle stash is divine, not like the rich kids” and “We sit in Wetherspoon’s on the weekends” resonates with any student who lives on soup noodles and is a regular to The Impy. Musically this song fits in line with the Arctic Monkeys / Strokes comparison often made to this relatively new to the block band. However, lead singer Paul Sharpe’s experimentation with pitch and timing means that he can’t, and shouldn’t, be placed in the same boat at Alex Turner.
Next comes ‘Forget me not Factory’, where the skill of lead guitarist Niall really comes in to play. The solo towards the end of track is something that is sadly not present in all too many of the modern indie rock bands songs. It is this indie experimentation that makes the Devon based band stand out from the pack. However, the use of feedback is perhaps a little excessive at some points and draws attention away from the musicality of the song.
“INDIE EXPERIMENTATION MAKES THE DEVON BASED BAND STAND OUT FROM THE PACK”
The final track on the EP, ‘Man O’ War’ is arguably not indie, but a good and simple rock song. In the best way possible, it is a song that wouldn’t be out of place on Guitar Hero. Again, Sharpe’s vocals, at some points discordant, add an edgy depth to the song. Alongside the conversational drum/guitar section, the vocals mean this track feels the most progressive from Pop Quiz.
The rise of indie-rock into the mainstream means that, as long as Black Thistles continue to demonstrate their musical skill and refine their style as they have in Pop Quiz, there should be no reason for them to not ride the wave to success started by bands of a similar style before them. It’s a very good EP indeed.