Oklahoma-based punk rock band When the Clock Strikes released in January 2016 The Better Friends EP, a collection of five tracks that combine intense energy and deeper than usual songwriting. Daniel Basden (lead vocals, bass), Steven Walker (electric guitar), and Blake Westerby (drums) dipped unapologetically into the 1990s when putting together their latest work, clearly pouring their hearts out in every number in the set.
The high intensity punk rock opener “Too Many Cooks” combines elements typical to the genre, from the electric guitar playing a melody at neck-breaking speed to the steady-handed drumming, fiery vocals, and enthusiastic bass. The relatable pop punk of “Better Friends (From A Distance)” is probably the song with the broadest appeal. The vocals take on an extra note of angst, well suited to a topic that many have dealt with themselves at least once in their lives. All the musicians seem to be easily able to keep up with the unrelenting rapid-fire pace.
With an intense bass-led beginning, the very engaging and extremely catchy “Fair Weather” cranks up the dial on heaviness and loudness. While the fierce “Redemption” is definitely a punk track, there are some guitar riffs that add a unique pop rock twist to it. It calls for universal empathy, as everyone is seeking redemption for the mistakes we all make. The song features a lot of different and quickly changing elements in the melody that Basden, Walker, and Westerby all manage to keep up with easily, be it on vocals, the guitar, the bass, or the drums.
The closing, electronica-influenced “Better Friends (From a Distance) [Lumpy Space Mix]” almost sounds like the video game version of the song. On one hand, it’s irritatingly different from the rest of the set but on the other hand, it seems to be a reflection of the spirit of fun experimentation that the three bandmates and friends share. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about the band is available on their Facebook page.