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Archive Album Review: Finding St Kilda by Axis Of

Hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland, punk rockers Axis Of finally release their début album  Finding St Kilda on the 18th March. It's a crushing blend of punk riffs, pop hooks and impassioned vocals. Axis Of have been touring for what seems like forever, kicking up a raucous punk storm wherever they go. If you've had the pleasure seeing the band before you'll be well aware of their incendiary live shows, but just how successfully does this translate onto record?

Well, it all sounds a little different….

But my goodness that difference brings Axis Of up several rungs on the ladder. Make no mistake Finding St Kilda is absolutely brilliant. Sure at times it may sound a little discordant and the shouted vocals may not be to everybody tastes, but this all goes to serve up a real gem of an album.

Previous live favourites have been given a whole new lease of life. ‘The World’s Oldest Computer’ already had a fantastic riff, the tinkering has made it phenomenal – adding real power and depth. Even with all the crushingly heavy riffs and rough vocals it doesn’t take much to notice the pop sensibilities simmering just below the surface throughout the album.

Opening track ‘Cardiel’ gets Finding St Kilda of to a storming start, from its assured intro through to it’s breakdown and build up at the midway point, it’s a high point that the album never dips from. Third track ‘We Dine On Seeds’ may well be one of the best known Axis Of songs, but placed on this album it still sounds every bit as fresh as it did the first time you heard it.

Finding St Kilda is absolutely rammed with bubbling punk energy. The short and furious burst of ‘Aung’ sums the album up perfectly. There’s a maniacal grunge feel. Imagine the punkier moments of Nirvana, put this through a blender with Torche and Converge and you’ll be close this awesome little track. Following track ‘Stan Winston’s Rough Seas’ goes for a different tact, and after only two listens you’d be hard pushed not to sing along. ‘Brobdingnagian’ may be another old school Axis Of favourite, but there’s subtle reworkings of the riffs and again it gives the track a fantastic new lease of life.

‘Written In Big Ink’ is simply superb. It’s short, but within you have some wonderfully brutal riffs and angst. There’s a hint of a Therapy? influence in there somewhere just beneath the covers. ‘Mapping St Kilda’ carries on the big riffs, but with an added pop hook. It’s the most complete sounding track on the album, again it’s superb and cannot be faulted.

With the final two tracks ‘Edge of the Canebrake’ and ‘Lifehammer’ Finding St Kilda comes to a brilliantly raucous ending. The guitar work and dual vocals on ‘Edge of Canebrake’ are a joy and make for an expansive sound. With ‘Lifehammer’ you get a life affirming sing-a-long to round things up.

It’s hard to find fault with Finding St Kilda. There’s not a weak track, superb from start to finish, an essential addition to anybody’s record collection.

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