EP Review: Past Lives // DENIALS
Following a six-year hiatus, UK-based duo DENIALS came together once again to reignite their creativity and create awesome music. Hailing from Manchester and North Wales, Steve White and Lee Crimes have some band experience under their belt touring with The Misfits, The Ataris and Enter Shikari as part of the band Through Colour. Now, they bring their powerful sound back to audiences in the new project DENIALS. The latest addition to the pair’s discography is the EP Past Lives.
After spending the pandemic reflecting on the hole not making music left in their souls, Steve and Lee began anew not only to create music but also to remain sane. Known for their raw, gritty and brutally honest style, the pair bring intense intimacy to their repertoire. Touching on issues of abandonment, exploitation, family relationships and mental health difficulties, Past Lives is described as a “heartfelt elegy to family life and a means to artist contentment.”
Penned in their home studio, but mixed by Bob Copper at Chairworks Studios, Past Lives has captured the energy of mid-2000s post-hardcore sound; however, there is a contemporary edginess that is entirely DENIALS.
Immediately blasting a heavy, hard and raw sound through the speakers in the opening title song, DENIALS establish themselves as a force of nature. Moving onto the song ‘Serenity’, DENIALS keeps you in a head-spinning swirl of sound twirling about in a rock-inspired haziness. Interestingly enough, while the arrangement does have a degree of abruptness it also retains a hard-hitting flow to the melody – does that make sense?
Darker and grittier than ‘Past Lives’ and ‘Serenity’, ‘Sin’ has a sense of desperation in the lyrical execution and pounding melody. You feel like you want to lift Steve out of a grungy hole. For me, this is the most intriguing and powerful of the four-track EP – I don’t know why, but it just is. Ending with the empowering track ‘Weights’, Steve and Lee seem to grab you by the hand and navigate you through a kaleidoscopic soundscape – a brilliant end to the breathtaking EP.