28 Jan 2022

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On Tick - Album Review: Nothing New

18 Nov 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

On Tick was formed by brothers Brendan (vocals and drums) and Aidan O'Loughlin (vocals, guitar), out of the ashes of their previous band, Evil Tomato. They decided to work as a rough and raw punk duo, adapting some of the older songs to their new style, a few of which can be heard here. They were looking for a studio, and when they heard the demoes from Black Sands they booked time to work with the man responsible for those recordings, Matt Hammond. The brothers wanted to be aggressive and over the top, but Matt convinced them the songs would work better with layers and atmosphere, and soon found himself not only producing the album but also a member of the band, providing 5-string bass.

Anyone who has seen On Tick as a trio (they are now a quartet with the addition of Matt Perry on bass, and Matt H switching to lead guitar) will know how aggressive and in your face they are. Even though I had heard some of the singles, I was not actually prepared for the full album, as what we have here are a band who sound quite different and removed from the live version, yet obviously they are closely related. The bass and guitar are often totally linked as one, with no separation (although there are a couple of lovely little finger pops near the beginning of Don’t Know Who I Am, while the drums are wonderfully clear (which allows us to hear the nuances and different styles Brendan employs throughout). The rough edges have been smoothed, which in some ways allows us to have a much cleaner album, although at the same time it does sometimes come across as somewhat muted. Mind you, put Aidan behind a microphone and the only he knows how to approach it is at full bore, and his brother’s backing vocals also still have the deep gruff edge we have come to expect.

While opener Radioshit is still one of the highlights for me, as it normally is with the live set, special mention must also be made of Hound, where the guys show off some wonderful syncopation. There are times when they remind me of Life of Agony, and it took me ages to work out who the other band was but finally today it came to me, Budgie! There is something similar in Matt’s bass work to that of Burke Shelley and it really comes through strongly in the slower numbers.

Matt was right when he said these songs could work in a different manner with layers and atmosphere, as it has definitely lifted them. There are times when they still come across with a raw demo sound, and one knows the sweaty hardcore punks haven’t gone too far away, but there is sophistication at times which does not always come through when they are onstage blasting away. Now all we must wait for is the delayed album release gig, as that is going to be a night for beer, sweat, and very loud music indeed.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About On Tick

Three piece band from Auckland belting out heavy tunes for your pleasure.

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