Baxter – End Of The World EP (Malloty Up Records)
Charlie Ashcroft | Wednesday, 19 August 2009
After spending a couple of years touring the capital's extensive range of intimate venues, the latest stage of London band Baxter's development comes in the form of this new four-track offering, 'End Of The World'.
All the press surrounding the quintet has seen them described as being 'epic songcrafters', but save for the occasional lighters-in-the-air moment, this EP does little to suggest such songwriting grandeur.
The title track has an intro reminiscent of 3 Colours Red at their most poignant, but proves to be fairly predictable in terms of melody and structure. In spite of Jamie Tinkler's decent vocals and a fairly rousing middle eight, it fails to live up to its early promise.
Although the powerpop pace of 'Standing On The Edge Of The Tide' has the band treading an altogether different territory, perhaps somewhere along the lines of a British incarnation of The Gaslight Anthem, it seems that nothing can prevent the song from tailing off somewhat.
The frustrating thing about Baxter is that it's perfectly clear that they've got a decent tune or two in them somewhere. Songs such as 'Avenue' lead you to believe that they're a just a couple of hooks away from having the kind of mass-market-friendly hit that Radio 2 or Heart would lap up in no time at all.
It's a real shame then that the memorable moments tend to be drowned out by the rest of the standard MOR indie fare served up on the EP. As bands such as Royworld and Headway found out last year, this area of the market is a particularly crowded one, so unless Baxter can hone their 'epic songcraft' further, the chances of them opening the floodgates in the near future appear slim.