Empty Lungs are the Kings of Punk in our Northern Irish bubble but that hasn’t stopped them conquering mainland UK, Europe and North America as they live and breathe in a perpetual state of touring. Their most recent release, a three track EP ‘Don’t Get It’ was short listed for best EP at Pure M awards.
The title track of the EP ‘Don’t Get It’ is an intergenerational anthem, screaming out to every person living and experiencing the modern world. Short, sweet and angry this song cries out to listeners “I’m not with it” and “I don’t get it” criticising the selfish and capitalist narrative being sold to young people on “reality tv”. Empty Lungs sell anew the punk ideals of tolerance, social change and art. This song is the rebirth of Northern Irish punk as it reeks of protest and social criticism. The actual song itself mixes old with new. The middle section of the song features Kev literally speaking out against reality TV and celebrities’ behaviour, his voice has been distorted in a lo-fi style creating an old radio sound backed by big drums and guitar.
‘Finding it. Losing it.’ the second track, opens with the most relatable note “hey man I’m tired” backed by classic distorted guitar chords and verses accompanied by bass and drums. The song builds up to feature melodic guitar parts and then the eventual breakdown into an instrumental and harmonic “woah oh oh”s as an outcry of emotional rejection. This poignantly reflects the refrained lyrics “am I just losing my mind? are we just wasting our time?”. Perfect song to mosh to in moments of self doubt and crisis.
In the third and final track ‘Fragile’, Empty Lungs truly reflect their self described style “too punk for the indie kids, too tuneful for the punx”. The song delicately deals with the very real issues of mental health and suicide. Opening on a bass motif, the melody is more delicate than the other songs with notes tensely hanging in the air. The lyrics “life fragile, life is fun” create an oxymoron at first listen but reflect the ups and downs of everyone’s mental health. They don’t fail to remind listeners that its “still worth living”. This song could be hard to listen to as it brings up problems that most people have encountered but it deals with the need to talk about mental health and therefore, symbolically is an important listen.
The EP is sewn together by a chorus of “woah oh oh” echoed by bassist Conor Langan and frontman Kevin Jones through every song, the motif of protest. The boys have managed to capture the burst of unfiltered passion and unadulterated hormones that come with their live show in recordings. This is their first release with Hidden Pony Records and shows the growth of the band since its formation in 2011.