Shetland punk-rock outfit Forgotten Sons have released their latest EP Angst and Apathy today, their third album release since the inception of the band in 2015 and their first under American record label Manic Kat Records.
The group has come a long way in a short time, working with two labels across a short four-year span.
Their latest release coincides with a headline performance at Mareel tomorrow night as part of the Strip MS Again event, and with the band heading off on a nine-date tour of England and Scotland next week that will take them from Aberdeen to London.
Angst and Apathy sees the band, currently consisting of Robert “Birdy” Burgess, Sandy Middleton, John Gair and Stephen Ferguson, embrace their pop-punk influences fully, and perhaps even lean closer to pop over punk.
Opening track Tiden Leger Alle Sar is by far the weirdest, and most surprising on the record – a minute long piano introduction that sounds more like elevator music than the opening track of an-all-out rock record.
I can’t imagine that the band’s record label, which boasts bands on their roster called Noise Brigade and Hard to Hit, will have been clamouring for Forgotten Sons to include many heartfelt piano intros on the album, and on this basis, neither should they have been.
But second track Time Heals All (an almost exact translation of the name of the opening track) thankfully rectifies the album’s sombre mood immediately.
Perhaps not the most original song, this is punk-rock at its most melodic and radio-friendly.
I’m sure it will get people singing along at their live concerts, and that’s never a bad thing in music.
Third track and previous single All By Myself is, disappointingly, not a cover of the Celine Dion ballad – however, it is the best song on the album and reminded me initially of Blink-182 and then of the early works of Biffy Clyro, particularly from their grungier Blackened Sky album.
Lead singer Burgess described it as “a good singalong” earlier this year and there is no disagreeing with him.
Penultimate song Cold as a Stone wouldn’t seem out of place on a Simple Plan album, all palm muted riffs and galloping choruses.
Again, while not being entirely original, it’s an enjoyable and welcome addition to the record.
Closing track Blackened Heart is a polished-up version of the same track that originally closed the band’s first release Just So You Know.
Entirely played acoustically, its a well-written and engaging song. But it’s slightly disappointing to end the album on an old song, even one that has been re-recorded to its improvement.
Angst and Apathy is a five-track collection that exemplifies Forgotten Sons strong songwriting skills and helps them to continue to stake their claim as one of Shetland’s most entertaining and engaging bands.
The band continue to be at their best when they do what they do best – thundering pop-punk that can bring an audience together, not indulgent piano introductions.