Immediately hearing Unlucky and their debut EP Before It’s Too Late, I can’t help but think ‘wow, what a fun energetic act’. Rage Against The Machine was definitely played in some bedrooms growing up and I think I know which ones. With a sound similar to that of DREGG, explosive Melbourne band Unlucky are really a strong sounding group with some big ambitions.
Unlucky’s latest single “Replay Rewind” is our first introduction to Before It’s Too Late and I think that’s probably the most appropriate choice stylistically: It lays a good foundation for what we’re about to hear without giving everything away immediately. Straight off the bat, we’re hit with a feeling of hype that I could only describe as battle music; this is some final boss stuff. It’s easy to see that Unlucky enjoy making music just by the amount of fun sounds that clash together in this piece. It’s a killer track with some bang on production. The pure scale of “Replay Rewind” is ginormous and that’s the only real way I can sum this up. It’s a huge way to kick off an EP.
“Thomas S. Monson” is our next taste of Unlucky and I’m feeling it. With the trio clearly being influenced by hip-hop, I can hear that vocalist, Walid Shahin’s word play is similar to that of Eric B. & Rakim in the song’s verses. It’s a nice treat to hear a lyricist dance with words so carelessly and effectively. I really struggled to sit still through “Thomas S. Monson”, and I had to at least let my head bob and my fingers tap. The song’s outro really was a well-composed piece of music, I think the effect may have been lost on me a little but I’ll give solid points for the talent shown.
The band’s first single “K.F.C.” sits third in the tracklisting and is another big effort, politically and sonically. On this review, I’ve made a choice to let the politics take a backseat to the music, which is in no bad spirits. I think Unlucky have a lot of stuff to say and I highly recommend giving Before It’s Too Late a fine-tooth combing through. I think musically, the band has a lot to say as well and I’m very interested in discussing that.
As research would show, “K.F.C.” has been well-received and I can’t disagree, this is another final boss battle song; it’s here to chew bubblegum and kick some ass. Credit has to be given to drummer, Kristina Tsourdalakis for the crunching sounds that really push this track’s energy forward. This is the type of song that while listening makes even the most mundane task seems cool. Something about the line “Here comes a new boogeyman” has sold me on “K.F.C.” and will keep it in my playlists for a good while.
Track number four is called “Expectations” and the band have set mine high. This is the most sonically unique track out of the six, it’s clear there’s a mixed bag of influences for Unlucky. This is something that is really healthy for a band, being able to blend between sounds and appreciate what others bring to the table. Like any good mixtapes, you need to have rises and falls, this is a welcome change after three pump up songs in a row. I think the song’s production is well done and fellow Tsourdalakis, Kosta’s guitar parts salvaged this track for me. I don’t see this being a track that will define the band in years to come but it’s a fun kick around for the time being.
Hearing the title “Raw Power”, I was pretty ready for some more of that Unlucky grit. The lead in to this song was bluesy, rough and fantastic. After hearing such funky strumming, I felt compelled to put on The Black Key’s “Thickfreakness”; a definite recommendation if you like the sounds heard on “Raw Power”. Easily my favourite track from the Before It’s Too Late, I think what’s working so well in the band’s favour here is their simplicity. You don’t have to give us everything to say it all. I really love the stripped back soul of “Raw Power” and I need to feel this vibe live at a gig.
“…the power is within you, so the power is within us.”
With the final track queued up and ready to go, I was sad to see the EP come to an end but excited to see what Unlucky were going to bring to the table. “Olive Trees” is obviously another very politically charged song, which I can’t fault. Rage Against The Machine were pure politics and good sounds for years; this is no different. The tempo of the song has a ‘goodbye and goodnight’ feel to me, like a big performance coming to an end. It is less of a big bang ending and more of a fading departure. Given the tone of Unlucky, my predictions of a big crashing ending were slightly off. As much as I’d love “Raw Power” to close out the EP – and leave us wanting more – I think this is probably a more suitable end to Before It’s Too Late. It’s a definitive end and I can just about see the band waving as they walk off stage, feedback ringing and patrons satisfied.
To summarise Before It’s Too Late, I think it’s an exciting and large first effort from the Melbourne trio that can only improve with age. Within their next few releases, I’d love to see their style evolve and grow alongside with them. I really enjoyed this EP, but I certainly favoured some tracks over others. For anyone who likes a good heavy vibe and some punchy lyrics, you have to see Unlucky live; I know I’m going to catch them sometime. I think the messages and questions the band raise are important and well worth a discussion if you have the time. All in all, this is a solid effort from a handful of talented people. Well done.
Very powerful songs. Punchy rhythm. Good heavy vibe for live audiences. Short and sweet EP. Vocal about political and social issues.
Pacing falls a little mid way through. Political music doesn’t tend to age well.