We’ve enjoyed getting to know Birmingham’s Layover through the release of singles “Slumber” and “Hunger Pains”. As of today (4th May), the four piece of Luke Rainsford (vocals), Dominic Cattell (guitar), Elliot Wallett (bass), and Brad Fisher (drums) release Your Laughter Never Leaves via Fox Records. In the words of Luke Rainsford, the five track EP is “a collection of songs detailing the difficulty of loss. All of these songs stem from the loneliness and hopelessness of losing somebody, whether through death or through other circumstances.”
The first on the EP, “Hunger Pains”, is referred to by Luke as a bridge between the band’s previous music and their new, more mature, sound. It was the first they wrote for the EP and was reworked to move away from the pure pop punk sound.
“Hunger Pains” still carries pop punk punchiness but carries emotional weight and more sedate moments of introspection. As we determined when we checked the track out as a single, the track seems to be processing the experience of having a terminally ill family member. Literal ‘hunger pains’ are a metaphor for the mundane and unimportant things that the narrator of the track has thoughtlessly shared with someone who is facing certain death.
“I’m weak and I’m hopeless”
In just under three minutes we’re allowed in to the thought processes of someone who learns someone they love is unwell, and attempts to adapt themselves around the news and faces the weight of it all. The beautifully soaring second chorus takes us crashing and sinking, where we are headed toward the inevitable outcome, and the vibrancy is lost from more than one life. The trailed out ending (“never coming back”) is potently perfect for the sombre subject matter.
Heavy riffage and irregular feeling timing of “Coffee and Fluoxetine” is an invitation into complexity and relationship disconnect. In amongst the ever-shifting beat, it’s akin to floating in an ocean with unpredictable waves, and we’re emotionally sea-sick while “You left me when I needed you most” rings in our ears. There’s no solid footing in amongst the instrumental twists and turns, with sharp moments of breath-taking while we’re tumbled about.
Blink and you’ll miss the fact that we’re now in track three “Hollow Me Out”, seeming to echo a rapid emotional free-fall down. Honesty flows forth in amongst the unpredictable (and very satisfying) rhythms and guitar complexity. This is another wild ride of a track that does a solid job of expressing the overwhelm of self-doubt and insecurity when comparing oneself to another.
The fourth track “Slumber” offers a place to breathe with a slower pace where overwhelm is replaced by wistful hope for the future. After a gentle introduction, we’re pulled into strength of chugging riffs and raw emotion. Stuck on the last moments had with a former lover, hurt is apparent in the powerful and driving track. Luke feels that “Slumber” has the strongest message of the EP and was “the one we feel a lot of different people can relate to across a wide range of situations” as well as being the first track and a heralding of their new sound. “Slumber” is easy to lean into compassionately with relatable ache and loss.
The title track ends the EP and is a more anthemic sound than the previous four. Itchy with reality hitting home, “Your Laughter Never Leaves” seems to be an unwilling move into new circumstances. Questioning themselves in the existence of a new configuration, the emotive riffs and driving beats feels like a conclusion, from where a new chapter will lead off.
Layover’s sound feels familiar and cosy without being predictable or uninteresting. Emotional honesty and intense instrumentals feel like a five-track raw look into a crowbarred heart. The openness feels like these songs could become ‘comfort songs’ for listeners; soothing songs that are immersed into fondly when facing situations of loss and letting go. I’m a huge fan of the shifting tempos and timing and their powerful use in expressing a tug-o-war between the horrors of reality and wishing things were better. Layover do the dance between thrash-it-out-cover-up-pain-with-noise and raw vulnerable presence very well. In absorbing the five tracks, I’m left wanting a longer release from the band, even though the whirlwind vibe of Your Laughter Never Leaves reflects the slap to the face that life can strike us with. A solid release setting the stage for great things ahead.
A satisfying emo twist to pop punk with sharp turns in rhythm and pace. Honest emotion and relatable lyrics. A solid return from Layover.
Blink and you'll miss it.