Influences on their sleeve, chops to spare

A review of OMG It’s 5 Miles' 1st EP, originally published in the Sunday Guardian Arts Magazine for September 21, 2104
From it’s overly theatrical opening, a short clip of rain effects and the sound of a car screeching into a crash, the hand wringing angst that continues throughout the first official recording by 5 Miles to Midnight (hereafter 5M2M) is pushed front and centre.

After that wholly unnecessary bit of audio FX though, the band crashes into its first song, The end of her, powered by the triphammer drumming of Rhys Thompson who anchors the bottom end of the six song album.
Shimmering on top of that is the guitar work of Alex Burt Ou Young and Shallun Sammy, who trade rhythm and lead work in a seamless tapestry of modern guitar embellishments.

By the second song, Surefire, it’s clear who these guys have been listening to.
This is the song that most clearly offers up the double-barrelled influence of The Killers and Fall Out Boy, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Both are bands I have a lot of time for and 5M2M inherits their disinterest in the traditionally overwrought drama of modern rock.
So without much ado, the local boys power through their six song recording, spending precious little time feeling proud of their instrumental cleverness and investing their efforts in solid songwriting and elegant musicality.
You won’t find many long lead breaks or wild riffing here. These are songs with a sense of purpose that don’t waste time on grandstanding frippery.

That they play well together and clearly know what to do with their instruments only strengthens the result, a seamless collection of radio ready modern pop rock.
The band too often seemed that they could stand to do a little growing up as people. The themes of the songs far too often feel a bit too navel-focused and keenly dramatic.

There’s an awful lot of anguish about “taking control,” “just one more night,” and “just letting go of the pain,” but hey, I’m not their audience, I’m a jaded old dude who’s been around the block far too many times.
For the young, emotionally lost young rockers likely to be drawn to this release, there’s likely to be a lot of empathy for the stories of rather mild pain and loss that the band sketches out broadly, if a bit thinly, in their music.

Flogging 5M2M for this sort of thing is really a bit of a reviewer’s set up though. Hook lines that teens can both empathise with and sing along to are the price of entry into this market, and the band’s ticket is bona-fide.

5 Miles to Midnight is…
Rhys Thompson - Drums
Mark Wallace -Bass
Alex Burt Ou Young - Guitars
Shallun Sammy - Guitars
Liam King - Vocals
Dale E.P. Dolly - Keyboards
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