Saturday, April 12, 2014

EP Review :: Doe - Sooner



March 28 2014 (Keroleen Records)


Words: Dave Beech

For a band who have only been together little over a year, London three-piece Doe have recorded and released an impressive amount of material. Bringing in the New Year off the back of a handful of well-received releases, the trio's blend of stripped-back punk and lite-twee has quickly gathered momentum, the overall package tied off neatly by a sugary female vocal. Sweet as it is, however, it is not without a certain degree of bite, furthering the band's DIY approach, and giving extra weight to their punk credentials.

Their latest offering, a three-track tape and zine, is at less than ten minutes long a perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with Doe. But for those who have been on board since day one, it's another stepping-stone towards a much anticipated full-length that bridges the gap between last year's 'Summer 2013' and May's forthcoming split with Taxa.

Musically, one of the first things that's noticeable is how full their sound is for a band that lacks a bassist. Indeed, the presence of two guitars manages to provide an unexpected weight to the simple ensemble. Sounding like an early Tsunami Bomb, singer Nicola has a voice which lends itself well to both the genres Doe incorporate.

Beginning with 'Unrested', there's an immediate jangle which will appeal to fans of indie-pop; the duality of a male/female vocal furthering this excellently. Though Doe's influence lies at the feet of such 80s pioneers as The Pixies, MBV and Pavement, their music is immediately accessible, lacking in both pretensions and production. Following track 'Why Are You' feels somewhat more accomplished than the first, like the band are really hitting their stride, a feeling which continues in to final track 'Redo/Improve'.

In just over twelve months, Doe have managed to develop their sound in to something fairly unique. Rarely does the meeting of two genres like punk and indie-pop combine in such a solid way, but with 'Sooner' Doe have distilled the essence of both and entwined them into an amalgam which, not only harbours an inherent rawness such as that which will appeal to punk purists, but is deliciously sugary, riding along on wave after wave of vocal melody. They might not be to everyone's tastes - and indeed, Doe's sound is far more American than the traditional indie-pop bands found in the UK - but that matters not. 'Sooner' is a fantastic EP that serves to heighten the expectations mounting behind the band's inevitable debut full-length.

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