Monday, March 05, 2018

EP Review :: Muffin - Muffin




March 10 2018 (Self release)


Words: Richard O’Hagan

What does the name ‘Muffin’ conjure up for you? A wooden mule, star of early children’s television, perhaps? Or a particularly English breakfast bun? Maybe even Muffin Spencer-Devlin, one of the first openly gay professional golfers?
Whatever that image is, it almost certainly isn’t of a loud, agitated, five-piece band from Leeds. But that in itself is some of the beauty of Muffin. Whatever your expectation of them is, they are a little bit not it.

Take their own description of themselves as a ‘grunge’ band. Half of the tracks on here, their debut EP - ‘Miss Direction’ and ‘Filter Me’, to be exact - are much more in the radio-friendly unit-shifting zone occupied by the likes of Foo Fighters. That’s OK, though. Because being Muffin means that you don’t have to do the obvious thing. So instead of releasing the stuff that is easier on the ear, you put forward the edgier ‘Welcome To The Modern Age’ as your lead single. Which is a good move anyway, because it is definitely the most interesting thing on this EP.

What is properly grunge, though, is the underlying resentment, bitterness and cynicism that runs throughout the music. ‘Welcome To The Modern Age’ is more than just the diatribe against those who are failing to keep up with the times. Vultures and parasites loom large in the lyric. The first two words are ‘false friends’. The message is clear: Muffin might sound soft and sweet, but they are not going to be messed with.

If you want to be overtly critical, you have to wonder where all of this shape-shifting and misdirection is going to take the band. Not only does The Man get riled if you twist his testicles too many times, but the more important people, the fans, like to have a vague idea of what is coming next. The challenge for Muffin is to take all of this attitude and turn it into a full length offering that is as interesting as this EP is whilst at the same time having some sense of coherence. They may not get there, but it looks like being a fun ride along the way.

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