On most debut EPs, the songs don’t operate as a cohesive unit so much as a demo for a band’s sound and aesthetic. Melbourne act Strangers From Now On’s debut EP is no different, and from these results it looks like we have something to look forward to.

Over the course of these four songs, the band aligns itself with the current post-punk revival. Unlike similar bands, however, SFNO have a secret weapon that makes them more than a mere genre retread – Gabriel Santos, their expressive frontman. That’s not a dig at the rest of the band; the rhythm section is tight and hits hard, and the reverb-soaked guitar work of Aidan Kelly is enigmatic enough to keep things constantly interesting.

But this is Santos’ show. His is a style that lands somewhere between Brett Anderson from Suede and Timmy Taylor from Brainiac, and he performs with more charisma than any singer from the original crop of post-punk bands.

Opener ‘Midnight Town’ proves it. It’s a reverb-heavy, blues-based groove, with Santos using the music as a bed for his schizoid flights of fancy. Whispering “fuck me” before the solo, then breathing heavily over it doesn’t help dispel the notion that he’s the star. ‘Ugly’ then follows, which sees Santos shouting the title hysterically and repeatedly throughout the chorus, pummelling it to the ground.

The last two songs aren’t as thrilling as the opening two, but they aren’t bad either. They’re helped by the fact that, for a debut EP, the production is surprisingly close to perfect.

After these 15 minutes fly by, you’re left thinking what SFNO want you to think – how long until we hear more?

3.5/5 stars


Strangers From Now On is out now through MGM.

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