The Lock & Keys – ‘Wilderness’

By Liam Knowles

The Lock & Keys have been kicking around in one form or another for over a decade, though the band has been mostly a part-time endeavour due to the members all having other musical commitments. The Leeds trio draw clear inspiration from rough-around-the-edges punk rock bands like Hot Water Music and Polar Bear Club, but whilst they may be wearing their influences on their sleeve, there’s a real honest, genuine vibe about this band that stops them ever sounding derivative.

On opener ‘Lonely With You’, vocalist Niall Wright sets his emotional stall out early with the line “we are lying next to each other nearly every night, but I don’t think that I can look you in the eye”. Anyone who has ever felt trapped in an unhappy relationship will surely relate to the lyrics on this track, and anyone who hasn’t can at least have a giggle at the fact that this song is accompanied by a picture of Donald and Melania Trump on the band’s bandcamp page. Joking aside, there are plenty of heartfelt lyrics across the EP, with some storytelling on ‘Wasted’ and ‘Stay Scared’ that’s verging on Springsteen-esque.

The whole EP sounds fantastic, especially for an unsigned DIY punk band, with thick, punchy production giving the tracks impact whilst still allowing the lead vocals and backing harmonies to shine through over the energetic, bouncing riffage. Perhaps the only real criticism is that across the five tracks there isn’t much variety in terms of pace and tone. Three or four track EPs are best kept consistent but having five tracks gives a band just enough breathing room to showcase a different side, maybe a slower number or something a bit more gradual rather than balls-out punk rock from start to finish.

The Lock & Keys may well have been a part-time band for a long time, but ‘Wilderness’ is good enough to make them a damn sight busier. Hopefully they’ll grab the opportunity with all six of their hands and allow the UK punk scene to see more of them going forward.


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