“So,” Hinges frontman Myles Petcher tells a near-capacity crowd in the backroom of The Packhorse pub in north Leeds, “a crow walks into a bar.” He pauses and gives the grin of a man unrepentantly aware how terrible his punchline is. “It was a crowbar.”
It earns a few choked guffaws and plenty of ironic cheers; it seems just as well that the band have returned after almost a year off, if only to save audiences from their vocalist’s potentially life-scarring stand-up routine.
At their comeback show, the grunge-tinged five-piece unload a brace of tracks from their upcoming, second EP – and with it, a more nuanced genre palate that straddles the blurry line between defiant emo and furious metalcore.
The djent-inflicted growled riffs of Home aside, the first three-quarters of the quintet’s set is frontloaded with as-yet unreleased material. The influence of stalwart emo outfits such as AFI and American Football remain spectres across the songcraft, but Hinges tweak most numbers enough from formulaic into something a little bit different.
Everything Beautiful showcases their pop nous underneath the fizzing guitars; Weak, with its hazy six-string wash on the verses is oddly dreamy and pretty. There is little revolutionary about the musicianship offered; but their time away from the stage has sharpened their skills, their sound tightly coiled and finessed in parts.
In Petcher, the group are blessed with a frontman whose obliquely down-to-earth stage patter can bridge the gaps in between with workmanlike ease. He swears like a sailor, threatens to tell more bad jokes and invites everyone to come out to Popworld afterwards and buy him a drink, “because I’m skint”, he tells them.
As a singer, he finds his clean vocals overwhelmed under the tight fills and chunky melodic punch of Selfish; but when he lets out his scream over tortured ballad Waves – which he introduces as “the closest thing I’ve ever written to a love song” – and again on the moodily cascading I Hope It Gets Better, where he roars it to its conclusion.
By the time they close with the bratty snarl of Aches and Pains, the resultant mosh pit threatens to send less well-anchored bodies flying in a wild melee.
Hinges are back; and bolder, broader and brasher than ever to boot.