[sic] Magazine

Document – A Camera Wanders All Night EP

Alex Evans, Charlie Marriott, Max Grindle, Josh Franks, Will Smith (not that one, obviously) – unassuming names about to be scratched into pencil cases the length and breadth of the land. Keen students of post-punk history, normcore heroes Document also draw from all the genre’s best contemporaries, the result as thrilling as it is brutal, their raw live sound successfully tightened on tape. Simply put, bedecked in their trenchcoats, the Manchester-based band look and sound the part.

Confident beyond their tender years too, these flagbearers of the “modern punk revival” write tense tracks as character-driven stories, explorations of paranoia, desolation and surveillance. Apt, perhaps, considering today’s turbulent times (the band are isolating in their respective homes, staving off going crazy with Aldi-brand lager), this five-track debut EP’s title too is taken from cover artist Sam Kennedy’s work, which pulls from the same themes.

As drawling anti-frontman and lyricist Evans (equally of Leeds band Lumer) becomes his rich characters on stage, he holds a mirror up to an angry society, reflecting it intelligently, largely avoiding obvious political criticism in favour of skin-crawlingly exact observation. First single “Pity” and its uncompromising snarl thus trudges along in the monotonous company of some existentially self-destructive figure, its weighty bass riff something to hang onto as Marriott and Franks strike their guitars in fury.

Suitably end-of-days stuff, “The World Until Yesterday” captures the screeching uneasiness of youth and their relationship with an uncertain future (“I’m terrified of everything” Evans wails, elsewhere descending into sheer meltdown). Always close to a similar break-down, final epic “American Heat” in turn slurs its half-spoken polemic against various injustices, whereas the claustrophobic “Uncle Sam’s Daughter” naively offers its heart to the romance and fantasy of the American Dream (“I’ve been dreaming of a suburban life for you and I where we pretend everything is alright.“)

The sombre rumble of Smith’s ominous drums and Grindle’s bass earlier lead the most literary of the lot, EP opener “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold”, which takes its title and certain lyrical narration from John le Carré’s 1963 Cold War novel, to near Gothic overtones that degrade into grey walls of feedback. Ever heard a song sound grey? In Document’s shadow world things are rarely cardinal black and white so it makes sense they find solace in the “in between”, cementing their appeal to outsiders and tastemakers alike.

Best track: “Pity”

~A Camera Wanders All Night is out now digitally and will be released on cassette May 8th via Ramber Records.~