Drop Down Smiling “Sign Here” EP – Marking a unique stamp on their sound

Sometimes music that you find interesting can be just as good as music that you like instantly. If a band’s music is well done, but clichéd, I’ll probably turn it off. On the other hand if I don’t love a band’s music on first listen, but I find it challenging or think it’s somehow different, I’ll give it a shot and probably give it another listen to see if I can work it out. Hell, I’ll probably end up liking it.

Take today’s band Drop Down Smiling as an example. Sure, I can pick holes in a few things I don’t like about their music (I can do that to my favourite bands in all fairness), but weirdly, I’m not sure it matters this time because the music they’re writing is brave and different. With a few impressive support slots already under their belt, now is a good time to review Drop Down Smiling’s second EP “Sign Here” (Released December 2013).

Trying to describe ‘the sound’ of this band is a hard one because of the sheer variety of styles covered on this EP. Whereas ‘Put On A Show’ and ‘Down From Your Skies’ are guitar driven alt rock songs that resemble a mixture of AFI and Linkin Park, ‘Time Slows Down’ as the name suggests is a more down tempo song that sounds like it could be the acoustic intro to a Chase And Status epic, whilst the final track ‘Why Should We Change’ is a bizarre attempt at a Mike Shenoda-led Linkin Park song that verges on Hollywood Undead at times.

Yep, it’s strange.

And although this is a strange attempt to make an EP that’s both full of variety and cohesive that will no doubt leave some people wondering what kind of record this is, I appreciate the band’s efforts to illustrate their diverse musical tastes. Don’t get me wrong: this is great music – it’s just that elements of it are a bit Marmite if you know what I mean. Alt rock is definitely their strong suit: with structures and riffs that never leave you wanting more – but personally the rap (ish) style in ‘Why Should We Change’ is not their finest moment. Attempting something out-of-the-box like this, however, was a great gesture, and it certainly does make them stand out.

The one element of their music that I think is specifically worth mentioning is the vocals. This reference won’t mean a lot to most people, but it reminds me of the intriguing vocals used by metal band “Deadly Circus Fire”. The scales and tone of it have a middle eastern/Moroccan prayer call sound about them (and I know this because I slept on a roof in Marrakesh for a week during University) that is rarely heard in the UK music scene. It adds a depth of character to their music that would have otherwise disappeared in the crowd. I like hearing obscure similarities such as these as there are SO many bands that sound like a predictable handful of mainstream acts (especially in rock music sadly). Long live variety.

Lets not forget their support slots either. Blitz Kids, The Blackout, and most recently Lostalone – these guys have bagged themselves some great opportunities that will no doubt earn them a lot of fans and recognition within the industry. Put me down right now for saying that I bet their debut album will get reviewed in Rocksound/Kerrang when it comes out.

Overall, choosing to review this band was not because I think this is the best rock music I’ve heard in a while, but rather that I want to acknowledge that this band are taking an interesting route with their song writing. The vocals are characterful, the blend of genres and influences on this EP are interesting, and the music is of course very good. I would like to see how their music matures with time that’s for sure.

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