Punk, Punk Rock

Sounds Familiar – Muscle Function EP (Review)

Artist: Sounds Familiar
Album: Muscle Function
Genre: Punk Rock
Country: Germany
Release date: 10th of June, 2019
Self-released EP
Cover artwork © Sounds Familiar 2019

There is one major aspect everyone – even musicians or authors – have to face – and this is growing older. Taking a look at the Transcended Music Blog Team and then taking a look into a crowd when one of us attends a Hardcore show instantly shows us that something has changed. Back in the days, getting crazy in the pit was of highest priority, whereas today some of us are just comfortable with listening to the music during a show. Remember those old folks always in the back of a show, listening to the music? Yep – that’s us. In the same way, 5-member Punk Rock outfit Sounds Familiar from the beautiful Rhineland had to struggle with the difficulties of growing older as well.

Sounds Familiar is a quintet that was formed back in 2000 already when most of them were studying. Then, in 2001, there was one release and afterwards life crossed the way of every member. As mentioned above – growing older basically only means gaining more (and more) responsibilities. Thus – jobs, children or whatever there was stopped Sounds Familiar from playing their music for about 17 years, enjoying other pleasures of life. However, in 2017 the musicians felt as if they were back on their feet and strong enough to reunite and start again playing the music they love. After hard work and several shows around Cologne, their latest EP Muscle Function was released on the 10th of June and combines several sounds the band loved even back then when they were formed.

Throughout the entire EP it becomes evident that Sounds Familiar is capable of diving into different subgenres of what could loosely be summed up as Punk Rock. When the first track “Rachel” begins we get a clean guitar with vocalist Fabio showcasing his incredibly strong voice and the subtleness that takes place while switching between soft verses and strong chorusses reminds a lot of Jimmy Eat World. This Emo edge of musical taste is combined with a lot of love for Pop Punk as can be heard on the third track “Once in a While,” where the guitars mix both genres and finish with another decent track. Sounds Familiar is able to dynamically switch between clean and distorted guitar sounds during the entire EP, which always puts emphasis on the energy every passage on the tracks is supposed to convey. Fabio’s voice is the absolute complement to this sound, because the dymanics he is able to deliver are amazing. He is able to always arrange with the sound the instruments play and can switch between a good range of different styles when singing.

Energy is also the term that is necessary to mention when talking about the second track “Try” on this EP where the band also displays an obvious love for Hardcore music. Beginning with a similar mixture of Emo and Pop Punk, the track progresses into a more Hardcore sound when vocalist Fabio gently surpasses the threshold of clean vocals and shouting. A little further into the track, this gentle addition of a raspy voice clearly turns into absolutely energetic Hardcore vocals showing that Sounds Familiar would have no difficulties at all stepping into the HC game as well.

The diversity of song structures on the entire EP that does not simply follow a straightforward “verse – chorus – verse – chorus – end” pattern helps maintaing the energy that comes across when listening to Muscle Function. Although the structures do not follow crazy progressive tetris patterns (which is also not necessary in my opinion), the slight deviation from the standard already helps to support a pleasant listening experience.

The only negative aspect that can most evidently be heard on “Try” is the production of the EP. At some points, the vocals merge with guitars and drums and do not gain the credit they should have. Apart from that, the drums sometimes are a little too calm in the background and the thud resonance of the snare is highlighted a bit too much. Nevertheless, the track mentioned above definitely is the best one on the entire EP – and this is when a band shows absolute strength. The production lacks to a certain extent but the music that is played renders this aspect redundant. Sounds Familiar convince with the energy and the vocals on “Try” so much that, although being able to hear flaws in the production, you simply do not care. (and you should of course not forget that this EP was self-released).

While listening to Muscle Function, the music triggered absolute nostalgic emotions of my youth when getting into a similar kind of music. It was a little later when I found out how “old” the musicians actually were. However, Sounds Familiar is capable to play music that is very reminiscent of the bands guitarist Erik mentioned as their inspiration when having started to play in 2000. Sounds Familiar started their self-introduction with the words “Sounds Familiar is old” – and while this might be true concerning the members of the band – after having listened to Muscle Function, the sound that can be heard does by no means at all sound old.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

8 / 10

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