Review by Will Harris
Resin aren’t afraid to wear their influences plainly on their sleeves. From the very first track of Embrace The Fall there are strong overtones of Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, which is by no means a bad thing and, besides, the Leicestershire quintet do much more on their self-released debut than simply rely on well-executed pastiche.
Firstly, by the end of that song, ‘Entropy’, one thing that stands out is that they’ve got a brilliant ear for a good melody; James Botha’s vocal snakes away from and back to the distinctive eastern-sounding guitar riff through the verses, before crying out loudly over the chunky three-chord descent in the song’s chorus. These are songs with instantly memorable hooks; it’s testament to the power of Resin’s songwriting that by the second or third listen of acoustic ballad ‘Beskadig’ you start roughly singing along, despite the fact the lyrics are entirely in Afrikaans.
And it’s not just the melodies. In their structure and arrangement of songs they display far more maturity for an unsigned group than you might expect. The Tool-esque verses and tuneful choruses of ‘Fake’ form the basis of a pretty decent song, but it’s the tense breakdown leading to Botha’s huge wail in the middle eight that puts hairs on end. This is where you really have to give Resin their due: on creating those big moments that matter. Like when the mid-tempo pessimism of ‘Clouds’ gives way to the triumphant sunshine of bright acoustic guitar chords and hopeful lyrics, or when the lead guitar in the final chorus of ‘Entropy’ (which could easily be mistaken for Slash) comes in with just the right note at just the right time.
Botha is no doubt a talented and distinctive singer and Mark Roseby’s guitar work is commendable, but when the songs are constructed this well the individual performances become less relevant, as what’s important is through each track the band are always moving, fluidly, in the same direction. The only areas lacking spark across this collection are some of the lyrics: while lines like ‘I’ve gone too far to turn around’ aren’t terrible, they’re hardly inventive, and occasionally lessen the impact of some of these powerful songs.
Supporting Embrace The Fall is a really solid, sympathetic production which, though hardly polished, really gets a lot out of the music despite being self-funded. Arrangements outside the standard band structure, such a dark temptation to many unsigned bands given chance to record, are prudently limited, and where they appear they really work: some light electronic babble casually perturbs ‘Entropy’ towards its end, while cello accompanies the sombre acoustic guitar of ‘Fallen’, what might be considered Resin’s own ‘Creep’, ‘Nutshell’, or even ‘Something In The Way’. The bottom line is Resin do a fantastic job of making the most of what they’ve got; really, you’d just love to hear what this album would sound like with a big budget behind it. As it is, though, there’s already plenty to savour in this debut.
7.5 out of 10
- Carpe Diem
- Clouds (acoustic)