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I cannot think of many rock based bands hailing from St Albans other than perhaps Enter Shikari, although that name crops up very rarely in my vocabulary. At any rate, Dark Stares are another band to add to that list, and even though they inhabit the realms of alternative rock, or "The Black Death" as I sometimes call it, they aren't half bad and their sophomore EP, 'Octopon', and the four tracks contained within, has somewhat intrigued me and has been getting quite a few spins.

Dark Stares were only formed in 2011 and already have a fairly extensive back catalogue of support slots including the aforementioned Enter Shikari and The Darkness. They released debut EP 'Tell Your Friends' in 2012 which apparently got a fair amount of positive responses plus nationwide radio airplay and they also released their debut single. According to the press release, their sound is made up of the "hooks of the Foo Fighters", the "groove of Them Crooked Vultures" and, last but not least, "the song-writing guile of Jack White". It also says they will also appeal to fans of Queens Of The Stone Age and Nirv**a (sorry, I still cannot write that down!). Now, I suppose I can hear a little of all those in Dark Stares music but I would much rather put this EP on my stereo than any of the above. To me there is more of a groovy and fuzzy Muse sound with some good old classic rock thrown in.

None of the songs are complicated; opener 'Bad Medicine, in particular, is a good track with a simple yet very catchy riff. The dirty bass lines of Brett Harland Howell stand tall in the mix and it makes a pleasant change, drummer Taylor Howell plays what is needed for the songs to work and doesn't resort to flashy fills. Lead guitarist Harry Collins, whilst not really having a lot to do solo wise, keeps the groove going nicely and vocalist and rhythm guitarist Miles Kristian Howell plays his part well, although he could have a bit less effect on his voice. I'm not going to suddenly run down the street claiming Dark Stares to be my new favourite band - after all, there are still elements of their sound that I'm not that keen on, but they make a much better job of it than many other 'alt ' bands I've seen and heard and I'll be very interested to hear what they come up with next.
Review by Rick Tilley
5th August 2013
1) Bad Machine
2) Shinigami
3) Steal Your Girl
4) Blackfyre
"...a groovy and fuzzy Muse sound with some good old classic rock thrown in."