Review: “Sink or Swim” EP from Luca

It’s been almost 3 years since Chicago Post-Hardcore crew Luca released their debut “Vera Corda” but then when life takes you down a road of self-destruction, getting lost in apathy, realizing your mistakes and then finding a better way to live your life – and then you go and write an EP about it, it’s safe to say they’ve been busy. Produced by Jeffrey Krause and Pete Grossmann, Recorded and mixed by Pete Grossmann at Bricktop Recording and Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, “Sink or Swim” has some impressive names helping the band out.

Adrian Dabu belts out his unclean vocals in stark constrast to most of the upbeat musicanship of EP opener “Overcast”. There is a bit of Pop-Punk attitude musically with a distinct Hardcore edge to the vocals and that brings to mind some of the more melodic material of The Ghost Inside. Plenty of vibrant riffage with the odd breakdown and an immediately apparent emotional depth to the vocals that is where the Post-Hardcore tag comes from. Fortunately not an ABBA cover, “Waterloo” continues the vibe with some personal lyrics, expansive kit work and joyful lead flourishes. “Growing Pains” opens up with a pounding piece of kit work from Andy Bisceglie and some heavier vocals. That relentless opening barrage and dual scream pitch attack makes way for a bright solo – think Vanna – that ties in nicely with the earlier material before bringing back the heavier sound. An elongated breakdown bridge turns into some downtempo hardcore that surprises by touching Deathcore with both vocals and guitars before closing. The track is both a surprise and a delight in how well the band genre shift without losing the flow on something that only clocks in at 2 minutes and 37 seconds.

“Sinkhole” starts off with slow building dark atmospheric riffs during the opening verse before driving into some faster Everytime I Die, Jordon Buckley inspired pacey judders. Lyrically an intelligent and thought provoking introspection on the subject of anxiety and depression that will resonate with anyone who has been down that path themselves and know the signs. 118 second instrumental break “The Ember at Dusk” has a big bass sound courtesy of Alex Pfister and builds a soundscape with a gazing into the distance quality that introduces “The Spark at Dawn” perfectly. The final tune returns us to the sound and feel of the opening pair of tracks while adding gang chanted lines during the chorus and highlighting the whole thing with a rhythm lead riff. The passion in the vocals is raw and embracing with what sounds like a trio of band members getting in on the action before a final fade. “Sink or Swim” as a concept EP of sorts works really well with the variety of sub-genre spanning riffs within each track that are delivered with pace is inspiring [7.5/10]

Track list

1. “Overcast”
2. “Waterloo”
3. “Growing Pains”
4. “Sinkhole”
5. “The Ember at Dusk”
6. “The Spark at Dawn”

“Sink or Swim” by Luca is out now and available over at bandcamp

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