Label: 3 Syllables Records Release date: 22/11/10 Link: Official Site Now Guards are an interesting proposition. On first glance you’d think they are a rock ‘n’ roll band, but one who only have one permanent member, a guy called Richie Follin (although according to the band website he had help from a friend on the drums). More interestingly, this is a guy whose step-dad was in a punk band called Youth Gone Mad who used to hang out in the same circles as the Ramones, Devo and Metallica (apparently). And to cap it all off, Follin rejects myspace, the tool many up-and-coming bands use to promote their music and uses something called bandcamp to upload his music for public consumption. As you’d expect therefore, the music on the self-titled EP is heavily influenced by rock n roll, but with a modern twist, if you will. There is a distinctively scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll sound but there is also definite musical talent there. And it’s not one formula for seven songs either. ‘Resolution Of One’ starts the EP off very well with plenty of energy and urgency but ‘Trophy Queen’ sees a collaboration with Caroline Polachek in a more soulful track, vocals echoing over a cascading background of drums and guitars to produce something that’s actually very pretty. ‘Don’t Wake The Dead’ sound is a proper old-school garage-punk record, pummelling drums and guitar effects everywhere. ‘Crystal Truth’ has hints of motown and reggae influence to it – there are so many different influences there that through all seven tracks. But this in a way is what’s brilliant about it – your curiosity is aroused and this makes you listen to it again and again and before you know it, you realise what a good record it is. In some ways Guards actually reminds me of the third Strokes album, First Impressions Of Earth. The vocals sound similar to that of Julian Casablancas on that record, and the way that choruses just explode into life harks back to those days. Like Casablancas, I don’t think Follin realises he has quite a good voice, hiding it behind effects and vocoders for a lot of the album. It’s still a fantastic record though, with only one real weak song and such variety in the seven tracks you get that it leaves you scratching your head about what exactly Follin wants this band to be. There seems to be a lot of good records coming out at the end of this year and I see no reason not to add Guards’ EP to that list. Photobucket