Get past the mallcore-esque name, and New Set of Bruise’s eponymous debut EP reveals a budding knack for gravel-voiced, beer-soaked punk rock in the vein of Leatherface and Lost City Angels. It’s not a perfect EP, but the six songs contained within are so close to being awesome that New Set of Bruises is a band to watch.
Here’s what the band does well: They rock hard. Frontman Nij Lynk has throaty ‘n’ ripped set of pipes that lend his songs a gritty weight, and everyone so often he pulls out a nice chorus. Producer Dave Waite did a good job mixing the tracks. The levels are consistently even, you can pick out everything but the band still sounds live. Yeah, it doesn’t exactly pop, but given how many engineers fuck things up by either muddling or sterilizing a band, it’s amazing how much a steady production job stands out.
Where the EP fails is in the details. Each song is decent, but they’re also interchangeable. “Uniform” could be “Day Destroying Me” could be “Hindsight.” And they’re all around the same length. Shit, “Steer” and “Tempting Fate (again)” are exactly the same length down to the second (4:06). How the fuck do you do that? These songs would probably benefit from shaving off a minute or so.
Taken as is, New Set of Bruises is just OK. But the band behind it might have a Sink or Swim or Fuel For the Hate Game in them, and that is something worth waiting for.