‘THE IKO ALLIANCE’ is a collaboration founded by producer/songwriter Dave Draper (Hey You Guys!) and composer/songwriter Paul Terry (Cellarscape), surprising & delighting fans with its debut E.P. there is certainly much here not to ‘Remain Calm’ about.
With four songs, ranging from alternative-punky sounds, to epics with confident choruses, the E.P is an exciting debut from the collaboration, completed by Jason Bowld (Bullet for My Valentine) on drumming duty, Jon Poole (The Dowling Poole) playing bass, and Chris Catalyst (Eureka Machines) providing additional vocals.
With each member of this welcome alliance representing a different sound and genre, ‘Remain Calm’ has a plethora of styles and sounds – a mix of classic alternative, pop-punk sounds, combined with themes and techniques for more ‘epic’ stories within the music. ‘
‘Feral’ is a great example of this, starting the E.P’s story with a bang. All these tracks have brilliant intros and ‘Feral’ is no exception. The lead guitar providing the melodic runs is exceptional, the synth and edited effects (such as an ‘FM/Radio’ edit over the vocals) give a stylish sound but do make the track a little busy for the outstanding vocals, which are somewhat lost in the mix.
‘The Great Retreat’, has another great intro and after sharing this track with others for secondary opinions, its sound is very reminiscent of alt-rock, one friend drawing sound comparisons with ‘Muse’, whereas I felt it was more first album ‘1975’.
Track three, ‘Decoy’, is perhaps one to divide opinion, you’ll either be on-board with its distorted sounds or you’ll wish you could hear Terry’s vocals that tad bit more. This track did feel reminiscent of more experimental teen pop-punk, a fun, sing-along (or shout-along) workout, providing a much-needed especially in 2020, positive get-up-&-go vibe.
This takes us to the last track, and my absolute favourite, ‘Risk Nothing’. This track is not easily but greedily digested. This song hits with a Foo Fighters’ feel and energy not letting-up for the whole 4-minutes and 22-seconds. With its clean & clear production plus excellent construction, ‘Risk Nothing’ feels like a clever conclusion to the E.P. When the drums get heavier and the guitars become the focus, it’s an instantly infectious representation of how glorious this musical collaboration is.
Some manic bopping may have occurred whilst listening and having the track on ‘repeat’ definitely happened!