Review by Peter Finn for MPM
Wayward Sons were formed by Toby Jepson (vocals and guitar) in 2017 after a long break from recording and touring.
He carefully selected the musicians he wanted to be in the band which included Nic Wastell (bass), Phil Martini (drums), Sam Wood (guitar) and Dave Kemp (keyboard).
2017 saw the release of their debut album ‘Ghosts of Yet to Come’ to much critical acclaim. Two years later in October 2019 the follow up ‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used to Be’ was released, again this was well received by the music press.
During the pandemic work started on the next record, but whilst in the production period of the third album ‘Even Up The Score’, Dave Kemp decided to leave the band for health reasons. It was agreed that the band would continue to tour and record as a four-piece. ‘Even Up The Score’ was released in October 2021.
‘Score Settled’ is a seven track EP, actually it’s more of a “mini-album” with a 25-minute running time, perfect for the drive into work or the walk to the pub.
The EP features three new unreleased songs that were recorded during the sessions for ‘Even Up The Score’ as well as three tracks that were previously only released on a vinyl format as additional tracks on a single release, and a live studio version of a track previously released as a studio bonus track in Japan.
The first track is ‘Beaten To The Punch’, it’s the longest track by far at a bit over 5-minutes. The power is obvious from the off, with the band announcing the arrival of the track with a heavy doom riff. Jepson is chanting the lyrics; this develops into real passion and emotion.
The band dropping in harmonies giving the sound depth. Clever tempo changes add real identity to the piece, it feels like a jam session with lyrics, where the band have been given free rein to express themselves. A knock-out start.
We now have ‘Can’t Take It Anymore’, the intro is real Wayward Sons, it grabs you and whisks you away. High tempo, foot to the floor rock ‘n’ roll. Jepson shows his range, Sam Wood crashes out a solo that it’s impossible not to nod along too.
The pounding beats from the rhythm section of Martini and Wastell constantly reminding you that this is a heavy rock track.
Up next is the final track from the ‘Even Up The Score’ sessions, it’s ‘Real Go-Getta’. We open with a circular riff before Jepson starts to tell us a story, the slower mid-section demonstrates control. The pace builds again as we get treated to a great slide guitar solo by Sam Wood.
Originally from the 12” ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ picture disc, it’s ‘Standby Heart’, Nic Wastell’s bass is thumping, Jepson’s lyrics at the start sound angry. There is a heavy riff during the chorus that works well with Jepson’s chanting. This is all about the pounding beats. Martini’s drums and Wastell’s bass complimenting each other brilliantly.
‘Radio Denial’ is also from the previously mentioned picture disc, this is rapid, the beats, the vocals, the solo. High pace and high energy. It could almost be a punk song, but the solo is classic rock, it’s great to hear the bass entwined the lead guitar. One I’d like to see added to a live set again.
‘Totally Screwed’ is from the 7” single of the same name. The hook at the start grabs your attention from the off. There’s another punk-esque undercurrent from Wastell’s bass, it encourages you to bounce. Jepson’s lyrics are brisk and direct, as is Sam Wood’s solo. The chants of ‘Totally Screwed’ bring the track to a close.
The final track on the EP is a live studio recording of ‘Backslide’ that appears on the Japanese version of ‘Ghosts of Yet to Come’. The sound is rich, the riffs heavy, and beats are crushing, this is another track that needs to be re-introduced into the live show. The mid-section beats momentarily allow the listener to gather breath before the final charge to the finish. The outro is genuine classic rock.
This EP just enforces how good Jepson is at writing songs, but you still need the quality musicians to be able to pull it off and Wayward Sons has four of them. ‘Score Settled’ is far more than a special edition for the die-hard fan to add to their collection. This is a great Wayward Sons release in its own right.
Score Settled” EP Tracklist:
- Beaten to The Punch
- Can’t Take It Anymore
- Real Go-Getta
- Standby Heart (previously available on vinyl only, “Don’t Wanna Go” 12″ Picture Disc)
- Radio Denial (previously available on vinyl only, “Don’t Wanna Go” 12″ Picture Disc)
- Totally Screwed (previously available on vinyl only, “Totally Screwed” 7″ Flex-Disc)
- Backslide (Live In the Studio) (live version of Japan Bonus Track for “Ghosts Of Yet To Come”)
Toby Jepson – Vocals, Guitars
Sam Wood – Guitars
Nic Wastell – Bass
Philip Martini – Drums and Percussion