What a strange few years its been for Blitz Kids. Hyped to the balls by various mainstream places as a band to step in line with Young Guns, Deaf Havana and that ilk, they stuttered a bit with their debut full length, and also faced the prospect of an altered & reduced line up to take into finished a forthcoming John Feldmann full length.

Now, with the ship steadied, the band have it all to prove in 2013, and close this year off in anticipation with the aptly named ‘Never Die’ EP. The basics production of ‘Vagrants and Vagabonds’ is dead in the water here, and the band instead opt for a much larger, almost Killers esque production approach.

The Killers are a suitable reference point for the band going forward too, as it goes – the band have opted for the “going big” approach after those previously mentioned rocky moments, and have transformed their mathy sound into something altogether more atmospheric. There’s elements of bands like Kids In Glass Houses, Tiger Please and Young Guns here too, and as a whole, ‘Never Die’ is a release that should mark their return in a strong way.

Tracks like ‘Warrior’ and the title track itself are fantastic at getting lodged in your head (something fairly regularly missing from the full length due to the rough and ready production and sometimes rushed-feeling songwriting process), and the band seem far more comfortable with the sound they’ve found here than previously. Vocalist Joe James sounds as great as he ever has done at the helm, and the production really has gone some way to giving the band the sound they’re going for.

If ‘Never Die’ serves as a precursor for the rest of the band’s career, then 2013 could well be a very bright one for Blitz Kids – they’ve managed to find the balance that they’ve been seeking since changing name from Rig Up Explosive (though the first two Blitz Kids EPs are nothing to be sniffed at at all), and it feels like they’ve really turned a page and pushed themselves here. With a full length incoming, it’s looking pretty great for the band going forward.

TOM AYLOTT