EP review: Cross Wires - 'Your History Defaced'

“Nostalgia can be dangerous,” sing Cross Wires on track 'Tab Clear', a curious line for a band so evidently indebted to punk bands of yore: the East London upstarts definitely sound as if they’ve done their homework. Four out of the five tracks on September’s EP ‘Your History Defaced’ clock in at three minutes or less, there’s spiked, stripped-back hooks straight out of the Buzzcocks’ playbook and a boozy distortion that, again, the Buzzcocks wouldn’t kick out of bed.  

‘Your History Defaced’ is the most recent in a string of EPs from the Bethnal Green four-piece, and it’s a solid showcase for their supremely confident, if-it-ain’t-broke punk. The release feels a little Jekyll and Hyde, but it’s on the darker moments that the band really shine. Opening track 'Modern Art' and closer 'Vultures' are textured, grungy and exuberantly bratty: sure, there’s many a “misunderstooood” yelp, but they more than carry it off.
However, on the EP’s brighter tracks, there’s a definite trace of ska – or maybe even Brit-Pop? – that feels a little more forced than their grittier material. The brilliant meltdown on the penultimate 'Last Stand', falling into a chaos of scuzzy riffs and distanced howls, is a clear indicator of what this band does best.  

I’d bet that Cross Wires are killer with a pint in hand, in the sticky basement of a London pub: this is music for having a dance, spilling your beer on the floor and waking up the next morning in need of a truck-load of aspirin. ‘Your History Defaced’ and earlier EP, ‘ASSEMBLY’, are both available for free download via Bandcamp, and I’d recommend that you take full advantage. 

Cross Wires – ‘Your History Defaced’ EP review by Katie Hawthorne.

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