Loud. Energetic. Fast. Those are just three words that come to mind when listening to Canterbury-based garage punk band Mass Lines. Officially forming around 15 months ago, but with each member previously playing in different bands, Mass Lines consists of vocalist Chris Thomas, guitarist Tom Bowen, bassist Nick Thomas and drummer Jack Handford. Chris also plays guitar in punk band Cosmic Thoughts. Demo is Mass Line’s, well, demo, and was recorded last year. It’s in-your-face and full of that edgy punk vibe, preparing fans for the official releases of the future.
The band have rather eclectic tastes, and this has meant that many different bands have influenced their music. With some main influences coming from Cursed and Burning Love and others from bands like MeWithoutYou, this wide variety certainly comes through. This four-track demo is powerful and gritty from start to finish, but also has that sense of rock and roll.
The opening track, “Dogville Bites Back” is heavy and has a great beat. The introduction slowly gets faster until Chris’ distinctive vocals add another dimension to the song. The meaning of the song is quite dark and some might say it’s controversial, referring to girls entertaining men. “It’s only entertainment” and “Grit your teeth and play the part” are repeated lyrics which add to the meaning of the song. The band is made up of only three instruments and vocals which, compared to other punk bands, is quite small, but that doesn’t mean that there is any less power and soul to the music. With fast drums and the use of only a few chords, the band’s punk attitude and influence really comes through and sets the demo off to a powerful start.
A personal favourite is the third song, “Young Punks“. The song itself is about how “young punks grow old” but how “there will always be targets” to rebel against. It is definitely a song I can imagine being played at full volume way back in the start of the punk era, the same vibes come from this song as do from many of the punk classics (Sex Pistols and The Clash instantly come to mind).
The guitar riffs in this song match the fast drums perfectly, making this song as one whose listener is impossible to sit still while listening to. As well as the punk roots coming through, ‘Young Punks’ also shows the band’s rock and roll influences too with the bridge in the middle- this particular section gives the image of the song being played on an old jukebox. “Young Punks” really gives the heart to record and is a truly fantastic song.
Closing the demo is a song called “365“. With the same great beat and incredible guitar riffs, “365” is a song that makes you want to have a great time and jump along to the music. This song is a reminder of the amazing punk scenes of the 60’s and 70’s, bringing the band’s influences right to the forefront. The vocals, just as they have in the previous songs, compliment the original punk rockers The Benders to give the song a fantastic mix of punk and rock and roll. “365” is a definite strong and well-rounded finish.
In all, this is a demo that brings new age angst and old school punk and rock and roll together in a way that makes it unforgettable. The demo recordings are absolutely incredible, so it gives you an idea of how talented these guys are and how good the final recordings will be. Mass Lines will be playing at the Power Lunches Arts Café in Hackney on February 7 alongside Weak Nerves, Death Pedals and Blood Lips, with future gig dates to be announced by Mass Lines, so be sure to keep an eye out and catch them live to see their feisty punk stage presence and experience their powerful music first hand.
Download: Mass Lines – Demo EP (Bandcamp)