Puck - Beyond Reason

Bruce Turnbull 24/06/2007

Rating: 5/5

Impressively arranged for a band less than a year old, “Beyond Reason” is an incredibly wholesome set of tracks performed with passion, fervour and a truck-load of zeal. Formed back in October 2006, London based female-fronted rockers Puck have toured the southern circuit extensively, promoting their un-clichéd, vitriolic modern metal to the salivating hordes, and from the sounds of things, they're bloody good at it. And good for them, because truly, this is the sort of thing we all could do with more of. Light, breezy and commercial one moment, spine-breaking and crushingly heavy the next, “Beyond Reason” packs one hell of a punch and unlike so many releases in the genre, it keeps smashing forward until the opposition have no teeth left to break. It's amazing how refined these guys sound, and honestly, I can't think of the last time a British band united talent and marketability so uniquely.

Fronted by charismatic, vulpine vocalist Amy Jay, Puck's sound is relatively unidentifiable. There are moments of Flowing Tears, Evanescence and even Kelly Clarkson, but at the base of operations, Puck are a rock band who know how to weave together stunning musicianship, and catchy, intelligent hook lines. Where opener “All That You Are” is possibly the heaviest track on offer - and perhaps the most enjoyable as a consequence - “No Tonight” and “Michael” offer sweet, almost folky melodic rock that is frankly a pleasure to listen to, complete with competent riffing, and unforgettable vocal lines. “No Shame” opens with a kick-ass riff that could have been lifted from the last Lullacry album, where “Masquerade” boasts a smashing verse and a boisterous chorus with a first-class grasp of percussion from stickman Aidan Bucherri. Fred Abbott and Lee Barker are very proficient guitarists, who don't shy away from shredding solos when the need arises. Amy Jay bares quite a resemblance to Ana Lara, whilst providing some tight harmonies and soul-searching scale running. The only real problem lies with the production, which, as this is a demo, is quite rough around the edges, and with the guitars in the foreground, it does perhaps detract the songs from the melodies they are crafted out of. The vocal mix is good however, and at least we can hear the beauty of Jay's voice for what it really is.

While it's going to be a long wait for the debut - I hope it's not too long - there is a multitude of talent here just waiting to be discovered, and if they ever get themselves up to Newcastle, I'll be first in line for tickets. This is no doubt a growing franchise, but with bands like Jynxt, El Fuego and others crawling out of the woodwork, this could be an exciting time for female-fronted metal; but while most of those bands in the ocean of monotony struggle to keep their heads above water, Puck are gliding along the top on rocket-powered surf boards. Superb.