Moral Panics – Ataraxia EP Review

If you’ve not heard the hype surrounding Moral Panics, where have you been hiding?!Despite their undoubtedly cool persona and ocassional unruly stage diving antics, don’t be fooled as their new EP ‘Ataraxia’ is sounding more mature and perfected than ever.

I’ve become fairly familiar with this band over the past year, having seen them more times that I can remember and being a regular listener. The prospect of releasing another EP is always a brave move as it will undoubtedly be compared to the success of past releases, but thankfully Moral Panics have nothing to fear as they return with this seemingly cool and enhanced sound.

‘Mammoths’ is the first track and what a track it is. Having previously reviewed this as a single a few weeks back, I cannot stress highly enough just how good it is! It’s the perfect opener for the EP, giving a taster of the brilliance that later unfolds. Introducing a slightly newer sound, it’s a bit different from their previous material but is definitely up there with my favourite Moral Panics tracks, bursting with passion and conjuring a storm of dexterity. If you have time I’d definitely check out the music video for it as well.

The second track ‘Here’ kicks off with a classic drumbeat, and the introduction of the bass and sprightly riff overlaying it adds an unmistakable groove that sounds pretty immense when played at full volume. It’s slightly more chilled than the opening track, which I quite like as it allows you the opportunity to properly get into the EP without being too overwhelmed from the outset. There’s an element in the chorus that reminds me of Two Door Cinema Club, yet this influence is mixed with something a bit more cutting that rules it out from being a generic indie track and throws a bit of grunge in there.

‘Calidore’ launches straight into an oscillating riff and an unmistakably catchy one at that. It’s eerily beautiful – the marginally upbeat undertone, which is almost cancelled out by a more sincere and sorrowful vocal, creates a divine result that captures what this EP is all about and the direction Moral Panics are pursuing.

Track 4, ‘Lungs’, is another gritty track that combines thoughtfully crafted lyrics, powerful drumming and an explosion of a chorus that is simply electric. The bass in the verses allows Dan’s intense vocal to flourish, and once again the lads have come up with another timeless and effortless melody that just screams out their iconic sound – but version 2.0.

If you’re going to recognise one Moral Panics song it has got to be ‘February’. Featuring on their previous EP ‘Wlvs’, this was the song that initially got me into the band. It’s quite clever including this as the closing track to the new EP – despite a slight tweak in their sound that old flare and spark is still there and is burning brighter than ever. There’s always been something so raw and exposed about ‘February’, and that paired with the emblematic tune just allows you to escape for a few minutes.

It’s easy for bands to pigeonhole themselves with the same sound and influence being regurgitated over and over. The ones who excel are the ones who bring something new and exciting to the table, and for me this is why Moral Panics have always been the ones to watch. They have got everything spot on, and ‘Ataraxia’ is what they have to show for it. The sound is evolved and frankly quite mesmerising, and if that doesn’t persuade you to give it a listen I’m not sure what will.

Alisha G

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Bonsai @ Sugarmill

Saturday night at The Sugarmill, it’s very rare I can say I felt the youngest there but I did. It was genuinely an amazing night full of great talent.

The Taskers opened the show. They released their latest album last month called Pleasure Point. Listening to the recordings you can hear the variation of sounds and themes, live the album tracks are even better. Every little layer is performed in 100% effort by all three members. Listening to Undone is a lot different to watching it. To actually see all the dancey beats, shimmering cymbals, tinkering keys and simple vocals live it brings all those Logic Pro loops to life. Smear is a Radicals Rising favourite, characterised by Band of Skulls-like lightning riffs and choruses that could trigger a catastrophic avalanche. There are songs with cheery breezy riffs, the whole set list touched almost every musician emotional. One of Stoke on Trent underrated live bands.

Thieves Asylum never fail to disappoint. The music and performance has no faults, they have worked hard to get what they’ve got and it’s beginning to pay off. The swift changes from one song to another is unnoticed. Starting with a weighty entry and into, Radicals Rising’s favourite Katapult, combining their heavy beats, monster riffs and the swaggering vocal. Their new tunes already have their trademark stamp built in and can’t wait to hear them again. Despite Joe’s guitar string breaking the band improvised and carried on, if that’s wasn’t an example of professionalism I don’t know what is. They know how to act and play like a band. Spot on, they set the standard high.

With the crowd warmed up, Bonsai were ready for their first headline. It was my first encounter with Bonsai, majority of the band have been in bands before but this time the chemistry between all members on stage is real. Bonsai have clear dynamics between dark and light tones throughout the whole set, as well as the music varying, the stage presence did too. We saw Chris full of excitement kinda like the love child of local bands Rinse and Moscow then we saw his adoring to the acoustic section of the set. Covering Catfish and Bottlemen and Kings of Leon was a good idea, it got the crowd going and singing back, it won’t be long till people are singing Ned lyrics or Houdini lyrics back at the band.