The Losing Score – ‘Closed for Season’

By Andy Joice

There’s always trepidation when dropping a second album, and the same might be said for EPs, too. Although shorter in length, they’re still examples of the direction a band is taking, giving fans an idea of whether they’re progressing and what their aspirations should be. For West Midlands three-piece The Losing Score, their second EP in four years is long awaited, but shows real development in both sound and writing.

Recorded during isolation, ‘Closed for Season’ takes a slight departure from standard pop-punk to a more refined emo/punk sound, akin to the likes of Prince Daddy & The Hyena or Remo Drive. Hooks are plentiful but the real change is the lyrical prowess, with themes of loneliness, self-reflection and loss.

Opening with ‘Every Day (Feels the Same)’, gentle finger picking sets the scene before rising into thick rhythms. Although Brodie Normandin’s voice might not be the strongest, it is distinctive, sitting deftly above the instrumentation. Written about the monotony of life, its catchy chorus resonates with anyone stuck doing the same thing day in, day out. Although it was written prior to lockdown, it can’t help but strike a chord with everyone currently stuck in the same routine.

‘Dear Sister’ is a look at film, reflecting on the joy (or lack thereof) of watching the same TV and movies as everyone else. Big references to Jimmy Fallon (petition to get The Losing Score on The Tonight Show starts here) and sketch comedies, it’s a dialogue of thoughts we’ve all had. Hating adverts, being too lazy to put on DVDs, and learning languages to follow foreign films are relatively common thoughts for cinephiles. It’s a subject that should sound tongue in cheek, but there’s a sincerity to Normandin’s vocals that give it a sense of relatability. The chunky guitar may not be excessively complicated, but its beauty is in the rise and falls – the moments of muted strumming working perfectly with Jack Smith’s free-flowing drumming.

Perhaps the most hard-hitting song, ‘Claustrophobic’ recounts the feeling of growing up – how expectations are rarely met, and how suffocated you can feel when your paths are blocked and the lack of direction becomes overwhelming. Given the context, it could be a difficult listen, but the melodies juxtapose this nicely. It’s weirdly warming, as if those feelings of discontent are only temporary, the jangling guitars and catchy bassline from Cal Mac helping to drive a positive wedge through any sorrowful feelings.

Closing track ‘The Big Twist’ builds slowly from gentle chords and first verse into a punchy chorus before mellowing out again. Focused on being dissatisfied with your life at the time of your death, it’s again saved from melancholy by uplifting melodies and chunky rhythms. Normandin’s vocals are particularly impressive, using the full extent of his range, from lower, almost whispered parts to a high falsetto that leaves a lasting impression. A long outro that leads into a poetic closing statement about death, punctuating the record to a full and complete conclusion.

For a band that’s still young, there are some big subject handled within ‘Closed For Season’, all of which are handled delicately and deftly. There’s serious progression from their first EP ‘Still Waiting for Things to Get Better’, with a more accomplished and refined sound. The distinctive voice of Normandin brings a mature relatability to every track, with heartfelt lyrics and clever turns of phrase, coupled with some creative instrumentation, leading to a succinct and satisfying record. Add them to you ‘ones to watch’ list, they’ll surely start making waves in the future.

ANDY JOICE

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