Borderline: FIRE are a five-piece band from Reading who began their musical careers as an average indie-pop act, but struggled to find their niche in that particular scene. After a year of experimentation coupled with plenty of trial and error, they’ve emerged from the studio with their debut EP, This Trojan State, and they’re certainly not an indie-pop band anymore.
The EP contains almost no traces of the band’s light, poppy roots; it’s most definitely an alt-rock record, with a more than passing resemblance to the earlier work of Scottish Brit-rock pioneers Biffy Clyro. There’s an unusual edge to This Trojan State which comes from the heavy use of synths throughout the record, marking it out from the many other alt-rock bands, and giving it a sound closer to the likes of Enter Shikari, or even Skrillex, as some of the synthesiser work here veers into almost dubstep territory. No song on the EP demonstrates this better than first track ‘Mark Up’, which begins with a squeal of synths, then segues into a regular rock song, only to bring the synths back in for the chorus. It’s quite an unusual approach, and very interesting, far more so than the standard rabble-rousing social commentary of the song’s lyrics.
Next song ‘Chains’ features a slightly heavier guitar riff, but continues with the random deployment of synths throughout the song to add interest. It also has a ridiculously catchy chorus that threatens to stay with the listener in perpetuity and is definitely the best song on This Trojan State. All of the songs on the EP follow the same basic pattern, combining hard rock guitar riffs and synth, with the exception of slower number ‘Trojan’, and while the other songs are all good, none of the others are as instantly memorable as ‘Chains’, which is a sure highlight of the EP.
Overall, This Trojan State is an excellent effort from a band that have taken the basic sound of alt-rock and made it all their own. There has long between a gap in the market between the fast, dupstep-metal hybrid bands, and normal guitar bands like Young Guns and the aforementioned Biffy Clyro. In Borderline: FIRE, there may finally be a band worthy of filling it.