EP Review: Shooze - 'Classified' EP

As a general rule, when someone tries to sell me something as 'ska/punk' I tend to turn my protruding hooter toward the Holy throne in the sky. It's an easy type of music to be average at, even easier than your usual chart grabbing indie songs. To actually carve a great record in that genre does indeed take some doing.

Enter Shooze, who - with gallant precision - slung a merry load of egg onto my face (so to speak). Shooze are the fingers behind the upcoming Classified EP and it's an absolute belter. The album bleeds with the soulful passion of ska and snarls as you approach with the bellicose attitude of punk. I began the EP with the typical fear that it'd be 'fine' but one dimensional and ska for the sake of ska (see The Ordinary Boys).

Opener 'Animal City' hazes into life with a lugubrious air to it. This bounds into a livelier chorus with backing vocals and a pleasing brass backing chiming in throughout also. This is perhaps the track with the most edge on the EP; its intentionally at the start to wake you up and invite you in for another one you'd assume. 'Rollin On The Wrong Side' allows the singer to strut with his voice a little more. Dragging out notes in sections as he laments the police force, then giving a little growl every so often. As is the case with the rest of the record, the music is tight and the production just clean enough to keep everything sounding modern without the novelty.

"Monday morning comes around so quick, especially when you work in a job that's shit" they coo on 'Minimum Wage'. A ballad of the sorrowful life of 9-5 in dear old Birmingham. A track with aggressive intention carefully balanced out with a swaying backing of music. The EP ends on 'Loves So Cruel', of course the obligatory love song and a more touching number compared to the rest of the tracks. The singer doesn't sound dissimilar to their relatively local Ali Campbell. In fact, the whole record sounds like The Clash and UB40 met up for a sly bootleg recording.

They're surprisingly diverse and offer a contrived miniature catalogue here. The music is visceral but with structure; the perfect blend of the aforementioned ska/punk. I'll be intrigued to how they would adapt to an LP but based on this sampler alone, I suspect it'll be absolutely grand.

Words and thoughts of Jake Collins

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Buy 'Classified EP: iTunes