EP Review: Dohny Jep: Smile, It Might Never Happen

‘The mix of grinding guitars, crashing drums and fire-fuelled vocals results in an unavoidable current of sound.’

Intro to Dohny Jep
Bringing with them a name that could be deemed unusual, Kent-based alternative-rock band, Dohny Jep, are all set to release their new EP ‘Smile, It Might Never Happen’ (out now). A release that, having had an advance listen, can be confirmed by us as being anything but strange. Previously receiving airplay on Hard Rock Hell Radio and BBC Introducing, amassing in excess of 50,000 streams, and reviews from the likes of Dead Press and Distorted Sound singing their praises, it’s clear they are getting reactions in all the right places. This though, judging by both pre-release track ‘Looking In’ (out today), and the consciously ‘non-pandemic themed album’, was only a sign of things to come. Mixed, mastered and produced by Rhys May, assistant producer to Dan Lancaster (Bring Me The Horizon, Don Broco, While She Sleeps), ‘Smile, It Might Never Happen’ follows on from their previous album ‘L.U.S.T.’, and is ‘aimed towards the issues many people have with their mental health.’  With ‘new guys’ Rowan Tremain and Wayne Ambrose completely enhancing the established sound that Stuart Day and Pete Herbert created, and the whole EP being a fire-fuelled sonic explosion, we would be inclined to agree with the band when they say ‘this is our best work to date.’ Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Dohny Jep

EP Review
Riding an electric wave of synth-rock, opening track ‘Control’ is a full-throttle mix of artificial effects, distortion, and raw guttural bass. It lives and breathes empowerment, and rightly so. Pushing to break out and ‘Take control’, it kicks off the EP with a huge amount of power and a level of intensity that immediately knocks you off your feet. Pounding drums and dominating guitar burrow their way into your chest, causing your heartbeat to sync with every shattering crash. Emotionally-fuelled vocal phrases soar and surge through your body. And even the slightest draw of breath fills you with high octane anticipation. It really is one hell of a way to start.

Similarly, track two ‘Smile’ brings another barrel of empowerment, keeping the focus on ‘breaking out’ whilst addressing a darker side. Highlighting the unknowns below what people see, lines such as ‘Nobody sees what it takes to keep that smile on your face’, wonderfully hint at the meaning within. It is however, one of the more surprising tracks on the EP. This though is meant in the best possible way. Carrying a heavy focus on instrumental elements, you’ll be rushing to grab your air drums, and your air guitar too. But hurry as you won’t have long until the absolute screamer of an instrumental break hits you at full force.

Filled with grinding guitars, smashing drums, and an unavoidable current of sound, this will have you re-charged and powered up in seconds. Yet underneath all this, is an evident display of Dohny Jep understanding how moments like this work best, as having hinted at the impressive wall of sound just before the chorus, here it truly arrives. Be warned though, those hints can’t prepare you for the surge of power that blows you back to the roar delivered by ‘break out, are you ready to change your life?’ 

Building on these sensations, and pushing us into pre-release track ‘Looking In’, the sense breadcrumbing a path to an explosion of choral sonic energy continues. Here though, the focus is on feeling left out, and neglected, while not knowing how to change the loneliness, or make your feelings known. And the frustration this mix of emotion would cause is totally palpable. Vocal repetitions of ‘outside looking in’, ‘turn it up’ and ‘come closer now’ work hand in hand with growing instrumental intensity. You find yourself listening in anticipation as other voices join in with distorted, overlapping, and whisper-edged inflections. And you wait, increasingly impatiently, for this ball of sonic energy to be set free.

While true of all four tracks on the EP, it is clear that ‘Looking In’, in particular, is powered by vocals. Vocals that perfectly pitch the growing level of frustration around needing something that’s just out of reach. For this reason, as well as the back catalogue of emotional resonance that’s behind every nuance, it is arguably the strongest track on the album. And as it turned out, was one of the reasons the band chose to lead the release with it:

“One track in particular contained expletives, so wouldn’t have made an appropriate or radio friendly song. However, when the final mix for ‘Looking In’ came back all four of us were so blown away it seemed like an obvious choice.”

Of course, this explicit track, and the final track on the EP, is ‘Get F*cked.’

Delivering a raucously refreshing mix-up of everything we have already sampled, with jazzy guitar slides and staticky grumbles, there couldn’t be a better way to end. It is a unique change, one that sees the instrumental elements just after the chorus induce reflection rather than ignite an internal fire. This of course doesn’t last forever though and we are soon reunited with that familiar crushing chug of heavy riffs. Considering the themes behind it are ‘Nobody Cares’, and that you are, ‘Trying so hard to fit in…you lose who you are’, there was bound to be some attitude and unadulterated rock in there too. Which when it arrives, confirms that ‘Get F*cked’ is the firework finale that the explosive EP deserves.

Constantly building, and sonically exploding, ‘Smile, It Might Never Happen’ is a ridiculously cathartic release that’s sure to instantly remove the deepest of mental frustrations.

Dohny Jep’s new EP ‘Smile, It Might Never Happen’ is out everywhere now.

Feature by Harriet Heywood

Find out more about Dohny Jep at:
Behind the Music: Interview with Dohny Jep

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