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REVIEW - Harley And The Wolf - 'Youthful Souls' (EP)

If the whole emo / post hardcore thing might seem all a bit 2010, there are still plenty of fine examples around providing that melodic, emotive alt-rock sound. Belfast's Harley And The Wolf release their debut EP 'Youthful Souls' on the 28th January with all the strengths of the genre - soaring harmonies, intricate riffing, meshing guitars, fluid rhythmic interplay - very much in evidence across its four hugely enjoyable songs. Finessing their core sound with touches of classic rock - most fittingly perhaps, the influence of Thin Lizzy's dual guitars creep into their sound now and again - and Biffy Clyro's anthemic alt-rock moves, 'Youthful Souls' looks to draw you into its warm, enveloping ambience.

Opener 'Just A Memory' sets out the EP's agenda with tightly wound verses leading into the soaring choruses - emphasising Christi McCullough's keening vocals and the band's impressive harmonies along with powerful drums courtesy of Pete Barber, McCullough's guitarwork blending perfectly with Conor 'Rico' Ritchie's lead lines and everything held in place by Ryan Noble's steadfast bass. 'Lost Hope And Mixed Blessings' is a little more expansive, its five minutes running time finding time to incorporate an instrumental breakdown and passage that builds back up into another memorable chorus, while the title track 'Youthful Souls (Build A Bridge)' is pacier, its glistening guitars and driving bass and drums bolstering a tale of drifting apart and moving on. EP closer 'For What It's Worth' bursts in with a stomping intro and moves through catchy verses and choruses to round off the EP in fine style.

With songs built for the arena and intricate finely tuned musicianship, 'Youthful Souls' has much to hook listeners with and anybody who has a penchant for the likes of Biffy Clyro, Bring Me The Horizon and Deaf Havana would do well to investigate. Alongside the likes of shock-rockers EB & The Deadlights and alt-metallers ForeignWolf, the Belfast music scene seems in a healthy place right now and Harley And The Wolf are fine bedfellows alongside those other two fine bands. Apparently some of the songs on 'Youthful Souls' took a decade to mature; it's been well worth the wait and we hope that Harley And The Wolf have some more songs in their locker that they will be sharing with us soon. In the meantime, this is an excellent EP and well worth a listen.

'Youthful Souls' is released on 28th January 2022 and will be available on Spotify and other digital sites.

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