Rolls Bayce on point with superb debut EP

Rolls Bayce seem to have the formula right. The Brisbane trio – comprised of Dean McGrath (ex-Hungry Kids of Hungary), James Wright (ex-Millions) and Neal Apel – has been performing relentlessly and drip-feeding new music to their bourgeoning fan base, steadily building hype and anticipation. Leading with a single as remarkably robust and appealing as Don’t Get Me Wrong hasn’t hurt, either, with the likes of the NME applauding Rolls Bayce from across the world.

Their eponymous EP starts with Arrows, the first track released online by the band in late 2013. A tight bassline struts beside measured strumming, soon joined by killer vocal harmonies. Good start. Next comes the superb Don’t Get Me Wrong, which shirtfronts you with its ragged opening chords before unveiling a steady rhythm, an infectious melody and a perfect blend of structure and fuzz.

Mutate takes a different approach, at least at first. The ethereal opening stanza is reminiscent of Midnight Juggernauts, but soon the guitar and vocals cut through, bringing you back to Earth from a brief trip to the cosmos. The dab of electronica is a welcome addition to the EP; indeed, Mutate is the most layered and unique offering Rolls Bayce have provided.

Latest single On My Own rounds off this excellent first release, which is cohesive without being overly repetitive. The distinctive voice of McGrath and his familiar brand of effortlessly attractive chord progressions make it impossible not to draw comparisons to the sadly defunct Hungry Kids of Hungary. But unlike Hungry Kids, who preferred a more spacious sound and an abundance of keys, Rolls Bayce have a certain frankness to them. Forming a three-piece has evidently allowed McGrath to shed the excess sonic elements of a larger band and become more direct in his musical offerings. And, as he wonders in Arrows, ‘How can this be wrong?’