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Album Review: Split Seconds - Neil Young and Dumb (2014 EP)

Nowadays it seems scungy punk bands have a monopoly of terrible puns in album titles. So consider this a warning. When you put in Split Seconds Neil Young and Dumb, do not be surprised when you hear jangly guitars and a voice as smooth as whiskey. There was once a time where Morrissey was the pun lord rather than a man who's only claim to fame is having a multitude of twitter follows to spew stupid statements at.

Speaking of Morrissey, it's clear that puns aren't the only thing he and Split Seconds have in common. Opening track "Delivery" comes in with a chord progression straight out of a Smiths song before delving into a chorus of fuzz. The song is bubbly despite being relaxed mostly due to the high pitched sample hook. Though the song does seem to plateau fairly early, it doesn't detract from the EP. After all, slow and steady wins the race.

Lead single "Halfway There" is where the energy really starts to build. The song ups the speed, but doesn't trade in musicality for the increase in pace. The dual vocals and synthesiser solo only add flavour to an already tasty track. "Put Yourself in Open Arms" could easily be another straight up Smiths track, with vocalist Sean Pollard putting on his best crooner voice. Though while the EP explores many different sounds, Split Seconds never manage to define their own. Leaping from summery relaxation to crooning ballad and folksy Australian ode, the EP feels a bit more like a few similar artists got together and put forward a song each, rather than a tight package from one band.

In many ways, Split Second's Neil Young and Dumb is a weird kind of pop album. On the first side of the coin is an indie rock album played straight. Songs like "Delivery" and "Two Birds (One Stone)" fit perfectly in with the track list of Triple J with their laid back vocals and jangly guitars. But on the other side, the band are stripped back entirely, with songs like "(I Didn't) Leave The House" being pretty much a solo track. These songs are injected with an Australian tone that brings the band into a middle ground between Redgum and the Kaiser Chiefs. The band is yet to find the Split Seconds part on that scale, but Neil Young and Dumb is a good indicator that they're close to getting there.

Review score: 6.8 out of 10

Neil Young and Dumb is out now.