‘GIVE ME SOME DOPAMINE’: THE DEBUT, RUN-RAMPANT, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NEW EP FROM HAZY SUNDAYS

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EP REVIEW | HAZY SUNDAYS – GIVE ME SOME DOPAMINE by Martha Munro

Despite only having formed in 2022, the four-man Glaswegian band Hazy Sundays have certainly been making a name for themselves in the lead-up to this debut release. After supporting the likes of Reverend And The Makers and playing alongside Bez from Happy Mondays as well as Chris Helme from The Seahorses, the band have established their head-banging sound in only two short years; and Give Me Some Dopamine only solidifies it.

To immediately showcase their ever-present, floor-filling energy, Hazy Sundays kickstart the EP with opening track Misfire. By beginning with only an amped-up electric guitar motif, filled with angst and promise, the listener can latch onto the strong roots of 90s rock in the very first bar. A Green Day-esque sound is paramount in this first track as the drums smash us into the full beat, introducing vocals that are sure and strong but just wild enough to match the edginess of the song’s other elements, such as the sliding guitar solos splattered across the repeating riff. The bridge also provides some sonic contrast as the drums pull back into a slower, softer, syncopated rhythm to make space for an anticipated build-up; and it doesn’t disappoint. A momentary silence is utilised right before the final chorus to catapult us back into that mosh-mad atmosphere and bring the track to its whining, warping close. Despite the fact that the foundations remain the same throughout most of the song, the power is by no means lost, setting the maddened mood for the next five tracks.

Hazy Sundays

Continuing this rampant atmosphere is the second track and lead single Where The Devil Decides. Despite beginning in a similar manner to Misfire with only a heavily amped up guitar riff that supports the whole number, it’s clear why this was the chosen lead single for Give Me Some Dopamine. The electric guitar patterns are not incredibly complex but are reminiscent of classic rock legends such as Jimmy Page in their biting energy and subtle developments as the song goes on. This is especially apparent in the chorus as a higher guitar riff arches over the LiamGallagher-esque vocals to create a sound that’s always moving, exemplified further just before the final chorus in a spacey, blurred, impressive guitar solo. This is followed by a grittier, lower section, in which the drums are given prime position in the mix for an intense burst before the chorus really swings into action. The varying textures created throughout hold the listener’s interest while maintaining the key elements of the song’s earthy character. However, it has to be said that the bass could be much higher in the mix. As the track’s defining qualities centre in its sonic depth, the bass becomes a missing piece and this takes away some of the track’s fullness.

This overshadowing of the bassline is also prominent in third track Never Know and indeed throughout the rest of the EP. Never Know does feature a brief highlighting moment for the bass which couples with an echoey cymbal build-up to introduce the final smashing chorus; this gives a taste of how the well-established, crowd-bouncing Hazy Sundays sound could be enhanced by a more centre-stage role for the bassist.

Additionally, the EP begins to harbour an undeniably repetitive quality as it goes on and this is evident in Never Know as well as the following tracks Lose It All and Off The Cuff. The range in key, structure, mixing and overall sound is limited, and as there is little to no variation in this middle section of the work, it begins to lose the enticing, dangerous quality that was so magnetic in the first tracks.

That being said, the closing number Wires certainly ends Give Me Some Dopamine with a distinct promise of more to come from this budding indie-rock act. The mashing-mosh sound is replaced with an immediately more laid-back energy due to the inclusion of acoustic guitar, as well as the contrastingly heartfelt tone and lyrics, communicating apology and regret. Despite this shift, the elements of the rest of the EP are by no means lost; in fact, they all harmoniously intertwine in this final track to make it the perfect closing choice. The acoustic guitar is joined by the familiar electric, and subtle yet prevalent elements of rock and roll return as the melody moves. The vocals in particular encompass this dynamic combination of hard and soft as the voice remains coarse but now with a more heartfelt quality. In this way, the structural formation of the tracklist is crucial to the end impact on the listener and has clearly been chosen to prioritise the initial and lasting impressions.

So, despite the often repetitive qualities of this EP and room for variations in mixing, Give Me Some Dopamine is an impressive, thrashing, fiery debut work for a band like Hazy Sundays. Considering the relentlessly competitive nature of the industry, it’s rare to find a band so new to this rock-and-roll-rebirth corner of the UK indie scene who have managed to blaze their way to the forefront as this group has done, leaving defining marks as promises of more to come.

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