Eyes on Film is a young rock and roll band from London, and this 3 song EP is their debut release. And while Something Wicked (This Way Comes) showcases an impressively distinct sound for such a new group, the bizarre mixture of electro and sleaze-rock falls flat on its face, awkwardly tumbling down a path of ungainly production and trite rock and roll songwriting.

One big problem is that the sound they've produced on this record is really weird, and not in a pleasant or interesting way. Drawing equally on the sounds of dance-rock acts like Ladytron and the songwriting of early 00s bro rock bands like Jet, the songs on this EP are a mishmash of incongruous styles that add up to less than the sum of their parts. It's not that combining rock with electronic sounds is an inherently bad idea - the past decade of indie music has been largely defined by successful execution of this very idea - but the combination here is so clumsy and clashing that it almost seems as if the band may have just stumbled upon some drum machines and bass synths and used them to slap some sounds onto their hard rock songs. And while this kind of experimentation is fine in theory, the results here are anything but serendipitous.

Then again, if it weren't for the weird electronic edge that this sound gives them, what they'd be left with is really just a set of grating and wildly derivative hard rock singles, and that's at times an even bigger problem. The opening title-track, for example, is certainly a loud and energetic number, even if all of its moves are so obvious that you can tell exactly where its going long before it gets there. But much worse is 'Criminal Mastermind', which gracelessly pits a grimy, bassy beat against a Black Keys-ian blues rock slow-burner that jacks its chorus riff from Collective Soul's third-string grunge hit, 'Shine'. The vocal layering on 'Itch' (and, to varying degrees, the other two tracks) might bring Radiohead to mind, but only because of how vividly it recalls the recent output of Muse. And all of these tracks have a strong dose of Eyes on Film's rock and roll swagger, and, while this may have actually come across well with a stronger set of songs, it only adds to the record's grating nature.

Despite all these misgivings, there is something to be said for how catchy these songs are, and this ends up being the band's shining light. At times these tracks are almost awesome in the way that only ham-fisted hard rock singles can be. And so, in the same way that I can't honestly dislike Finger Eleven's goofy radio hit 'Paralyzer', I have to give Something Wicked (This Way Comes) some credit. 'Itch' in particular bounces along in a pretty infectious way, and there are moments on the other two tracks, such as the title track's chorus or 'Criminal Mastermind''s bridge, that hint at a knack for likable rock songwriting. In fact, if it wasn't for the other gaffes, this sound would probably have a real widespread appeal that a lot of people could certainly get into. And maybe it could even in spite of them.

Still, despite how catchy Eyes on Film manage to be at times, these songs come across as flat and empty even at their best, and none of their rock chops are enough to outweigh the EP's awkward, messy style. At its core, past the electronic production and sheen, this EP is a pretty lifeless attempt at the kind of hard rock that's been beaten into the ground for a decade. So, while it's easy to see people conceivably getting really excited about the music here, for many listeners, including myself, trying to get past everything the record does wrong will prove to be a largely fruitless experience.