GUERRILLA MONSOON, Masts, Maycomb @Bulls Head, Moseley, 2/10/14


Birmingham Punks launch new mini album with a little help from their friends

Wolverhampton’s Maycomb are probably not being entirely serious when they claim on their Facebook page to like “Phil Collins and no one else,” and whilst MV would give them an argument as to the merits of early Genesis, they certainly don’t break into anything from “Selling England By The Pound.” What they do instead is very pleasing. “I Don’t Want To Leave” from their new EP “Little Ease”, features some superb harmonies on the chorus, while elsewhere they show themselves to a be authentic rock, with a touch of punk thrown in. The tracks have a sort of mid 1990s feel on occasion, and there is enough jauntiness to the music to make them worth checking out. Even better, there is an impressive array of different sounds on show, from surprisingly big balladry in “Keys,” as well as heavier early material, to the rifftastic closer “No Maps For These Territories.” A very decent discovery.

Cardiff quartet Masts have not come all this way to mess about. Rather they plug in, get their heads down and play. Musically they, rather like tonight’s headliners, have one ear on emo and the other on melodic sensibility and they are fast fun. In a couple of places – notably in later songs in their set – they get to be full-on hardcore, while their closing number sees them stretch their wings themselves again, as the two vocalists, Tom Watkins and Tom Roberts also interweave their guitars in a Hot Water Music style to great effect.

If you’ve seen MVM in the last few weeks, then you’ve probably seen that we have been rather championing the cause of local (really local, given that two of them live just up the road) four piece, Guerrilla Monsoon. This show is the official launch of their rather spiffing new mini album “Big City Plans.” The album is released digitally next week and is eight songs that fair old rattle along. Singers Mark and Lewis bounce off each other with ease and their songs are fully deserving of the acclaim they are receiving, with “Open Letter” an obvious highlight.

The most impressive thing about GM is that they clearly love the music they play. Their influences are worn on their sleeves with pride, but they are crafted into something original. Current single and album title track has a catchy hook and is played with real verve tonight.

The band are off to America at the end of the month – an experience they are evidently looking forward to. In common with all the bands on this bill, though, they’d be in the crowd watching if they weren’t playing and that’s why you wish them so well. There is absolutely nothing fake about this trio of groups at all, and in this superficial, throwaway world, then maybe that’s the best praise of all.

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