There are plenty of bands from the South-Coast of England who play it big locally, but struggle to thrive elsewhere. It's a tough corner to break-free from, for sure. But Gender Roles are managing to do just that with the release of their latest five track EP Planet X-Ray. Here's what we think, with a little insight from GR bass player Jared Tomkins...
Planet X-Ray is a major release for the Brighton Based Indie group Gender Roles. Released on Hanger Records earlier this year, it's the first sound-bite of a band who could and should break-free from the local Indie hotbed of Brighton and the rest of the south coast. Planet X-Ray offers the kind of powerful Indie Rock 'n' Roll which has seen the likes of British Sea Power and Royal Blood make it to the next level. Quite simply, it grabs you. It shakes your speakers. YES!!!
"We weren't sure how we wanted it to sound, or even how it was going to sound, but it turned out to be pretty much exactly what we were looking for. We've had some really positive feedback since it came out and we're really grateful for that"
Where many bands like Gender Roles go wrong is their lack of diversity in sound. By that, I mean the important art of contrast. On Planet X-Ray, Gender Roles get the balance between heavy thrash and sparse, punctuated, rhythm spot on. It allows for a narrative to come across in their songs. Yeah, we all like head banging, but we like hearing too. Much like the very first Paws record Cokefloat!, Gender Roles have produced a soundtrack which works across the entire spectrum of Indie music.
"Paws are great. I think if you get annoyed by being grouped with certain bands, you should probably change the genre or style of music that you play"
The latest release Chemicals is a perfect example of this. Drifting between a gripping verse and a rocking chorus, it's a very tight example of what's to come from Gender Roles. But, it's not the band's best. That accolade falls to their very first release Skin. The vocals on this track really are stand-out, in fact, it's the best example of how voice and instrumentation work together on the Planet X-Ray record. "You really got in underneath my skin...". 'Nuff said.
"Skin. First song we wrote, first song out and first video as well. The song is basically about the 'scars' that past relationships leave. When I wrote Skin I pictured it as a couple getting tattoos of each others names and breaking up.
The 'kiss of death' as they call it".
So, it does beg the question, what will happen to Gender Roles in the world of Indie music? Do they remain in Brighton and the south coast, or will the potential their debut Planet X-Ray shows propel them onto a greater stage? For a debut EP release, this record really is out of this world. A phenomenal introduction. But in reality, as bassist Jared Tomkins reminds us, there is a lot more to it than just releasing the best music.
"When you're a new band, you just want to play shows. You're going to be on first, so it's got to be somewhere you can get to by running for the train straight after work because you're not famous and still work for the man, and get back from easily because you're not famous and still work for the man".