Judgement Centre and The Debut EP.
The irregular line-up is becoming more and more common in our underground music scene and in doing so is injecting much needed new variety and that is something crucial. The mighty two-piece usually variates between the axe or bass-axe alongside a drummer, with some three-pieces similarly following suit with singular strings alongside a drummer and vocalist. The list goes on ofcourse and that is where Judgement Centre come in.
Based in Barnstaple, this three-piece formed via a music course where each member would lend their chosen instrument to an eventual unit of keys, bass, drums and the resulting unique take on Alternative Rock and Indie music.
‘Prisoners’ opens a debut EP rhythmically in tone with the gloom left behind by 90’s Grunge, used as a base for a ballad of self-destruction and a cry for help. Vocally, the emotion of the lyrics is shown as direct as possible alongside perfectly suiting percussion. The is a track you’d expect from a solitary singer-songwriter but instead is given the full-band treatment and works more than you initially thought it would.
You can’t help but pull further likeness to 90’s Grunge from the Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam vocals alongside a rhythm section that despite the lack of a guitar would not be out of place on an Audioslave album. The only slight criticism, despite both tracks at this point sitting very strongly is the similarity of the two. However with that said, at the 3:20 mark ‘Pretend’ begins trail off elsewhere, changing the balance of the EP as well as the song standalone before returning to the relatable croons and impressive vocals.
‘Changed’ is aptly titled and placed. Judgement Centre build on that brief change in style from the previous onto Blues-infused yet playful vocals and Indie-esque rhythms, in what could be likened to an attempt at a prospectively mainstream song that would actually deserve limelight. ‘Changed’ makes more use of the keys at this band’s disposal without sounding too much like an worn out late 80’s & early 90’s Electro-Rock rendition.
‘Burn’ is very much another approachable key-led ballad. The similarity in these songs is still something worthy of comment but simultaneously, from a certain point of view, their greatest strength. The emotional release is clearly and perhaps wouldn’t blend so well with the musical output without this key-led approach. ‘Burn’ also carries notable backing vocals which I feel could have been far more common on this EP.
Judgement Centre is the first foray and thus feels incomplete but luckily mainly so due to its length. Could there be more of a driven bass-led sound, up-tempo and carrying more weight? Yes. Will they likely explore this later on? Probably. Is this still a unequivocally enjoyable EP? Very much so.