Patrons are a noisy Post-Hardcore quartet from Plymouth; over the last 4 years they’ve been hard at work touring the UK and have released two EP’s. March 31st sees the release of their debut album As Above, So Below, the bands most polished output by far and potentially marks a turning point in this bands progression.
The album wastes no time in getting started “First of the Slow Burners” is the lead single and a fantastic track to open the album with, catchy, heavy, energetic this is Patrons at their best and they put it on show right from the beginning. The guitar line provides memorable melody while the rhythm section keeps the song driving forward toward a chorus that simply explodes out of the track. Immediately memorable and anthemic, expect raucous sing-a-longs for this one at the next Patrons show you attend.
While the single makes for a great statement of intent, as the album continues the sound progresses in some unexpected directions. “Shapes In Nature” has a definite Biffy Clyro vibe, soft loud dynamics highlight another crashing chorus. A catchy staccato riff runs through the verses and draws the listener in before the song builds to a wonderfully chaotic crescendo. The multiple vocals play off with each other well here. Patrons three part vocals give them so much power and it’s unleashed here above a closing riff that could feel at home on a Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes album. I can’t help but hope this closing breakdown is extended live as it feels a bit cut short here but certainly makes for an impactful close to the song.
“Shapes in Nature” sets the standard for the tracks that follow as softer verses build into heavy stomping chorus’ each one unique enough to engage it’s audience, while the structure becomes slightly predictable here, the strength of the hooks carries it though. “Everything Matters” stands out on the strength of its chorus. The second verse feels like a call back to something from the Emo scene that dominated rock music in the mid 2000’s. The track progresses into a satisfying groove at the end but cuts out instead of continuing to develop. Having said this, the songs mostly run for 3-4 minutes and the rapid fire assault of effective chorus’ is well constructed leaving little time for breakdowns and instrumentals.
“War & Pieces” comes out swinging, dripping in emotion, you can hear the bile in every syllable through the opening verse and yet the transition into another huge chorus is effortless. Patrons have absolutely filled this album with an almost overpowering amount of hooks, as though each song was designed for a festival audience to roar back at them. “Dawn” is the closing track of the album and a welcome departure from the effective formula on show throughout the album. “Dawn” is gentle and soothing by Patrons standards, the vocals are still delivered with force but the track chugs into its ‘Help me wake up’ gang vocal instead of exploding into a chorus like the songs before it.
As Above, So Below is an album well worth your time. It expertly occupies the space in between the Post Hardcore of Thrice and the new wave of Indie Punk bands from America spearheaded by the likes of The Menzingers and Modern Baseball. This record combines intensity and chaos with pop sensibilities and above all passion, from the opening track every word is sung with intent and even on softer sections there’s always a sense that the band is moments away from kicking into overdrive and unleashing the punishing heaviness that often punctuates this album. Having thoroughly enjoyed this album I can’t wait to hear the songs live where it is well known that Patrons excel.
Review by Hena Larkin