What a breath of fresh air! A punk/pop band who are actually making music with a real punk feel. Sure, there are pop sensibilities but they are not patronising their listeners with overly accessible and less than credible 4/4 stories of heart break, drowning in more-than-perfect production.
Half Naked are an Oxfordshire 3 piece with a lot of different ideas and first track ‘Backwards Scenes’ serves as a good introduction to how they work. It showcases frantic punk drums, an almost metal bridge and a seamlessly cute time signature change – somewhat reminiscent of Reuben – as the track comes to a close.
‘Forget/Forgive’ displays shades of Arctic Monkeys with it’s staccato opening and packs a solid chorus and at 2:28 doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. ‘Stamp’ is a driving, 6/8 blast which, as the midpoint of the EP, signals the beginning of it’s “business end”. The next track – ‘Burn The Bridges’ – is my pick of the EP with it’s sun-kissed ska bridges, darker guitar melodies and immediacy. At 2:14 it is a short, sharp, kick of modern punk.
Closer ‘Generation For Sale’ is a curious creature. It opens with a lumbering Queens of the Stone Age vibe and bursts into something frenetic that reminds me of Propagandhi. In the bridge, the song shoots big and hits the mark, while managing to maintain the scratch and dirt of all that preceded it.
Overall the EP isn’t perfect. In places the production is a bit too raw for me personally and I couldn’t really lock onto any of the lyrical themes. Whether that is because of the production or me just not “getting” the message I don’t know. That said, it doesn’t detract from the music or the song writing in a major way. Alessandro Kaye’s rasping vocals are a brilliant fit for the feel of the band and this EP displays a lot of potential. It show’s a band not afraid to challenge it’s listeners with ambition and scuffed delivery – after all, punk is not about being squeaky clean, it’s all about expression.