Release: Black Dog
Date of release: 29th of September, 2017
Genre: Pop punk
Reviewer: Brock Ford
For Fans Of: Neck Deep, The Story So Far, Real Friends, State Champs, Moose Blood
Next Gig: Friday November 3rd, 2017, EP Launch – Crow Bar, Brisbane
The first thing you notice when listening to Black Dog is that this band knows their trade. The second EP from Brisbane pop punkers Satellites, Black Dog pays homage to social angst and anger-fueled remorse. The figurative motif of death is openly contrasted with a message about future generations, and our role in saving a dying world.
The somewhat raw production misses a bit on guitars and bass, but adds a new element with clean, echoing drum beats, which complement the vocals. While the beats are, however, relatively safe, they work; and don’t draw too much from the overall sound. Home Sweet Home opens the EP, and sets the groundwork for the tracks that follow, with a catchy chorus and the best backing vocals on Black Dog.
The highlight of the EP, however, comes in the form of second track Thank You, where the band experiments beyond the classic pop punk sound. The bridge brings chills, with La Dispute-esque vocals almost forcing you to scream along. And it flows, with a nostalgic juxtaposition, into pop punk anthem Thread. The melodic chorus is the best representation of the range of vocalist Mitch Chamberlain, beginning with a self-titled Blink vibe, before flowing into the screams you want to hear.
Glass Jaw and Gritted Teeth continue the theme of sorrow and just a general impression of being pissed off. Final track, Johnny Ray, closes the EP with a strong message of pain and overcoming adversity. Paying tribute to the great Johnny Cash, the lyrics ‘misery loves company’ are about as prominent in pop punk as pizza, but the emotion that goes with it does it justice. I feel like the song ended a little suddenly, though, and lacked any real cadence, which was disappointing, as I was kind of hoping for one last burst of energy to finish. I feel like Thank You would have been better suited to closing out Black Dog, ending with the line “Satellites fam ain't nothin to fuck with” to make you jump up and down, before screaming along to one last chorus.
Satellites are absolutely going places, and this release really imprints their name in the world of pop punk in Australia. I do feel like the drumming could have been pushed a little further, and utilizing more gang vocals would have made some of the songs feel more like a song-a-long. Having said that the groundwork is there, with catchy choruses and melodic riffs paving the way for what is sure to be a long career. I look forward to seeing future releases, as the band moves away from the clichéd sound of US pop punk bands, and makes their own noise, falling back on the distinctive sound of Chamberlains screams. One thing is for sure though, this will not be the last time I listen to Satellites. Hell, it won’t even be the last time I listen to them today.
Songwriting Integrity : 6/10
Personal Enjoyment: 8.5/10