UTKF is a pop-punk band that formed in 2007 in London, Ont. They released their first EP, Welcome to the Real World, in 2009, and released their second EP, Takin' Out the Trash, in 2010. After being fairly inactive for about a year, UTKF went into the studio to record their debut full length. Their debut full-length effort, Set the Fire, was released on May 3.
The first thing that I noticed when listening to Set the Fire was that UTKF's vocalists compliment each other extremely well. Their styles aren't extremely contrasting, but one has a raspier vocal style than the other, much like Four Year Strong. The 'dual' vocals are executed excellently throughout the entire release, but they're particularly impressive on tracks like "Wake Up," "Put Me On" and "Tonight's the Night." Also, the sixth track, "What Matters," features a guest vocalist (I think) that supplies some screams.
Instrumentally, UTKF is on par with the vocal aspect of Set the Fire. You won't hear many blistering solos (but there is one); however, the riffs are great – and sound quite fresh – and the drumming is very impressive. There are several fast-paced sections on the album, and the drummer doesn't miss a beat. Occasionally, the bassist spices things up, but he's not a huge factor on this release.
The tracks that stood out the most to me were "Grey Matter," "Set the Fire" and "Underdogs." "Grey Matter" is a very catchy song that reminded me of Set Your Goals at times, both instrumentally and vocally. The title track is packed full of excellent punk riffs and melodies, but it also features some melodic hardcore-ish dissonant chords and more aggressive vocals. "Underdogs" is the fastest track on the album, and my personal favourite to boot. Right from the get-go, the drumming is extremely upbeat, as is the riffing, and it stays that way for the majority of the song. "Underdogs" features a fast solo near the middle of the track that reminded me of With the Punches; then it comes to a close with an undeniably catchy outro.
From start to finish, Set the Fire is an excellent pop-punk release. There's enough variety that, despite its 40-minute playtime, it doesn't become stale. That kind of length is a bit longer than most pop punk albums typically are, but UTKF managed to pull it off. The album is currently streaming on AbsolutePunk.net for the weekend, so if you like what you've read, check it out. Maybe you'll like it so much that you'll purchase it too!
Links: Facebook - AbsolutePunk stream