Hot Press Reviews 'Once Like A Spark' - 8½ / 10

"As soon as it ends, you'll find yourself reaching for the replay button"

Rarely has a band been so aptly named. Former members of the late, great Cuckoo – Andrew Ferris (vocals, guitars) and Jamie Burchell (bass, vocals) – are joined by Jamie’s brother Raife on drums and Cahir O’Doherty (guitars, vocals) for a sonic explosion that assaults your speakers and your eardrums with all the ferocity of a supersonic jet engine.

Current single Calculate The Risk is as fine a calling card as you could wish for. The guitars buzz ferociously, the drums clatter and the bass seems to clamber all over the stop-start staccato melody, while the spoken-word vocals resonate with a mixture of rage, longing and regret. Like those other classic Northern punk anthems "Teenage Kicks" and "Screamager", one listen is never enough: as soon as it ends, you’ll find yourself reaching for the replay button. Trust me.

The good news is that most of the other 10 tracks are of a similar calibre. Opener "The Violence" seems to burst from your stereo on a barely restrained wave of cranium-piercing riffs, "Brave Gravity" nods briefly towards a slightly more radio-friendly sound, and "Do It…Now!" takes the tempo down a notch or two for a love song of sorts that is more grounded in real emotion and raw desperation than most supposed ballads: “Don’t you dare say goodbye/You are the reference by which I measure everything.”

In fact, the lyric-sheet is refreshingly free of well-worn clichés, from the socio-political rant of "I Opt Out", through the self-doubt of "Writing The Ways Down" and on to the explosive self-help for the modern sociopath that is "Conventional Thought", where we’re encouraged to “Make more of this time/Be all of your anger”.

'Once Like A Spark' is a brilliantly brief headrush, a mad dash through the realms of punk, rock and metal that is the perfect pick-me-up for anyone who’s tired of post-rock, fed up with the new wave of cooler-than-thou US supergroups and longing for a bit of old-fashioned blood, thunder, sweat and bollocks.

8½ / 10

- John Walshe, Hot Press