Following on from two single releases, On The Verge have released their debut EP Foundations. Being still on the midst of their salad days, it was hard to really crack On The Verge. No matter how much I searched, I couldn’t pull up any information on them. You think I’d be pretty good at this whole research thing by now, but I’ve been outdone. The Western Sydney quartet emulate an alt-rock sound that I can label as a collaboration between Citizen, The Story So Far and Neck Deep. There’s clearly a heap of good influences here and with each listen I can highlight another one. There’s absolutely no shame in reproducing sounds you love, especially when it’s this good.
Starting strong with their lead single, “Rewind”, the band are showing off they’re here to make an impression. Foundations clocks in at a tight nineteen minutes so time is of the essence and I don’t feel a second is wasted on the first track. I’m all for, and a huge fan of, the frequent mood shift in guitar throughout “Rewind”. It’s something that is incredibly easy to get wrong but I find it to be executed fantastically. As is the case with the remainder of the tracks, “Rewind” features the classic pop-punk cliches that we’ve all come to love over the years. Some of my favourites include the microphone feedback, the oh-o-woah’s, and the self deprecating lyrics. It’s like listening to the history of the genre in one EP, this is a huge factor in how damn catchy the release is.
Now that I’m done gushing about, easily my favourite track, “Rewind”. It’s time to move onto the next slap of a song, “Recollection”. I love that the song comes crunching in with this Basement intro and very quickly shifts to a feeling almost like Polar Bear Club. The chorus melody is beyond catchy here, it even comes complete with gang vocals. I was very impressed with the vocal talent showcased coupled very harmoniously with the hypnotic drum loops. I’d love to see some further exploration with percussion; the hoppy rhythm of this song leaves room for some very experimental drumming. It’s safe to say that I’m hooked so far.
“Crystal Clear” is a taste of On The Verge’s softer side; luring us in with a gentle arrangement of chords paired with some light vocals. That doesn’t last for long however, before we know it we’re right in the heart of things. This is a song I’d definitely attribute closer to A Day To Remember, it’s killer to have such a culmination of sonic influence in only a few tracks. The thumping bass plucks are such a funky touch to this more serious tune, I can’t help but smile. The song does plateau for me there, which works well as a pallet cleanser but is hard to justify on a short EP.
The band’s first single “Walls” sits fourth on Foundations which is a responsible for it. With the introductions out of the way, it’s clear who On The Verge are and we are able to properly appreciate that now. There’s a really strong momentum build in the track that each chorus resolves well. Combine that with some twinkling sounds, sad vocals, maybe even a guitar solo, and you’ve got yourself a song to belt out. “Walls” is the song I can least attribute to any other bands which, while it is sad, makes me happy that On The Verge have found a strong sound that works.
Pretty much the title track, “Foundation” is here to close us out. It’s another soft start with a very experimental spacey sound. Every time you think the heaviness is going to kick in, it doesn’t. Some absolutely lovely guest vocals join the party to paint a beautiful picture, and with that any doubts I had are now gone. “Foundation” is powerful. It’s a song that only makes sense when sung in the rain. It’s a punch to the guts and I love it.
I think, for a first try, On The Verge have really put together a flavourful EP that is nice and tight. As is the case with most people, you won’t strike gold the first time but this is one of the stronger starts I’ve seen come from Sydney. We get to learn a whole lot about where the band has come from and if you pay enough attention, you can see where they’re going. I look forward to it and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the future of On The Verge.
Lots of great sounds. Nice and short. Fantastic opening. Great performances.
Still seem to be finding their sound. Weaker mid section.