Combining elements of progressive post-hardcore, math-rock and pop with influence taken from artists like Circa Survive, Dance Gavin Dance, and Deftones, Nottingham 5-piece BLIGHT TOWN have made a fast and hard impact on audiences since their conception in 2019. The creative 5-piece imprinted themselves onto the UK alternative scene with their debut self-titled EP in 2021; a sarcastic, melancholy, self-aware send up of modern relationships, existential ennui and introspective self-reflection.
Filled with funky and dancey choruses, jagged riffs, slapped and hybrid picked bass and tight syncopated drums, the band encased catchy songwriting and melodies within complex and occasionally jarring arrangements, drawing significant attention with their impressively self-assured sound in their first foray into releasing music.
The band’s second EP ‘It Lives…’ includes singles ‘Swerve’ and ‘Al Gore Rhythm’ and marks a new chapter for the band, doubling down on the technical flourishes and unusual shifts in rhythm presented in ‘Blight Town‘ but framing them within a sweeter, catchier and more vulnerable context. Littered with vocal hooks and a head-bobbing progression that ebbs and flows from track to track, the releases sees the band at its heaviest and most heartfelt to date, with the two singles featured on BBC Radio One and Triple J’s ‘shortfastloud’.
We’re stoked to have it out in the wild today, with full stream of the EP and the band’s special track by track commentary below! Blight Town sat down with us to give us their top releases of the year and inspire you to check out some of the notewortthy new bands out there!
The first thing written for H6O was the choppy funky riff that it opens with, and we realised it was a lot more “pop” than our usual style, but we really lent into it. It’s a lot more chilled than any of the tracks on our first EP and it’s almost an experiment to see how people react to this more wholesome, catchier sound.
We really wanted to create something outside of our usual comfort zone of songs that are as fast and loud as possible, instead steering towards a poppier vibe with lots of vocal hooks that highlight Jake’s vocals and catchy riffs and guitar work from Sam and Will. This was the one track on the EP that I think we were all dubious about it due to it’s simplicity, but it’s turned out to be a fun, bold song that’s quickly become one of our favourites.
This is kinda the evil twin of ‘Hawaii Six-O’, basically a two-and-a-half minute punch to the face. It’s played in the same key, but is infinitely more brutal and hectic. Every one of us pushed ourselves to create challenging parts that are musically unforgiving, and the pace and energy are definitely at 100 from start to finish in this one. Compared with the first EP, where we gave the complex vocal or instrumental parts room to breathe and shine through the song, this song has complex melodies and rhythms battling for attention, creating the most musically dense song we’ve written so far, and it’s been great to see the track get so much love since we dropped it back in October.
For ‘Feel Better’ we went back to a bit more of a conventional structure. Less of the instrumentation here is written to melt your face off, and is more focused on maintaining the bouncy, satisfying feel of the song, built around a really funky groove between the bass and drums.
It’s definitely another demonstration of how we branched out more on this EP into trying new things. Scott in particular got mega creative on this one, bringing funky/poppy slap licks and contrasting heavier riffs all in one track.
The bass solo showcases his skill at writing fun, energetic parts, and builds up to one of the grooviest breakdowns we’ve written, rounded off with a big bombastic riff peppered with catchy vocal hooks.
This song was the first single from the record and was definitely the one we were most excited about when we finished writing the EP because of how well the song balances heaviness, technicality and groove. It felt like the one that really let us move on from the last EP and it shows how much more focused our songwriting has become since then. We jokingly refer to it as “our indie song” because of that opening riff, but I love how we managed to keep a whole load of progressiveness to a track that might actually sound quite traditional on first listen.
It features some of Sam and Will’s best guitar-work to date, showcasing how they’re able to trade off lead and rhythm parts in a way that just works seamlessly. If you listen carefully through all of our tracks you can just hear the understanding they have of each other’s musicianship, but there’s a couple of great moments in ‘Swerve’, like the tapped breakdown and the final section where they trade off-beats really effectively. I love when our songs have parts like this in, and it lets us show that we’re not overdubbing little guitar parts, and that we’re organically filling out the song with just those two channels of guitar.
Favourite 2022 releases, by BLIGHT TOWN:
Joseph Smith (Drummer):
The Garden – Horseshit on Route 66
The Garden seem to be able to embed their style and attitude into a wide variety of genres and always flawlessly tread the line between simple, and consistently entertaining and deep. This album, where they embrace elements of punk and noise rock amongst their usual tendency towards snappy break beats and indie rock guitar is no exception, and has been on repeat for me since I heard it.
Scott Taylor (Bassist):
Home Team – Slow Bloom
Easily my pick of the year, this release has everything you could ask for with poppy and heavier detuned riffs and lots of melodic vocals layered over the top. Their songwriting skills are insane.
Will Emmerson (Guitarist):
Disheveled Cuss- Into the Couch
Everything Nick Reinhart touches is gold to me. It’s a very different album from his usual stuff, no insane effects wrangling just simple acoustic songs. I think he’s the most interesting guitar player and songwriter around right now and the fact he made something totally different and it’s equally as good is super impressive.
Sam Hough (Guitarist):
Static Dress – Rogue Carpet Disaster
This band only popped up on my radar like 3 or 4 months ago, and how interesting and diverse they manage to make a genre that I thought I had pretty much got a formula down for has made me fall back in love with post-hardcore music and pushed me to write differently. From opening track “fleahouse” to closing banger “cubicle dialogue” and everything in between, their songs almost seamlessly weave between catchy choruses and chaotic breakdowns. It’s like Taking Back Sunday, Glassjaw and Underøath had a baby and I’m so here for it.
Jake Hough (Vocalist):
Joji – Smithereens
I’m an absolute sucker for pretty melodies and Joji has them in spades. I know a lot of us have been waiting for this album to drop for a long time and it fully hasn’t disappointed. The production is top tier as usual and while I’m not normally into the whole “Sad boi” hip hop thing, something about Joji’s songwriting just hits different. It’s honest and vulnerable and the beats completely mesh with that.
Favourite local bands:
Nostalgia For Ruins: A fun, bouncy 2-piece that delives everything you want from a math rock band in a modest package.
Forager: Not just experts at identifying berries and mushrooms, Forager deliver super high energy, catchy grungy punk.
Moralslip: Fast, heavy hardcore goodness
Dead In Latvia: Noisy grindcore that delivers evil riffs at insane speed
You Win Again Gravity: Like Proceed on steroids with more prog – amazing band
FES: Super sick math rock
Azazel: Absolutely slamming beefy riffed madness
SMSKARA: 5 piece alt rock band from our home town. The perfect blend of atmospheric breaks, tasteful synths and enormous riffs.