Coastal Fire Dept – What Do I EP

Coastal Fire Dept - What Do I - EP artwork

Guernsey grungers Coastal Fire Dept have had a busy summer with a series of shows and single releases now topped off with a new three track EP, What Do I combining more of the alt rock we’ve come to expect from them with something a bit different.

The title track thunders out of the gates and doesn’t look back throwing in the same touch points of 90s rock and grunge we’ve heard from them before but with even more power and energy.

A big touch point in the sound for me would be Therapy? but there’s plenty of other bands they are referencing here and with that Coastal Fire Dept seem to be finding a more direct and visceral approach to their music and subject matter, which is something I’m all for.

Coastal Fire Dept 2021
Coastal Fire Dept 2021, (l-r) Bobby Battle, Ollie Goddard, Saad Frihmat, Stuart Austin

Second track is what Spotify is describing as the ‘noise version’ of recent single Gun, though I can’t quite work out what is different, but it continues much in the same vein of the opener with added shouts and roars from L’Islet Records label mates, Granite Wolf frontman, Tom ‘Shinfo’ Domaille, and you can read more about that in my review of the single from earlier in the summer by clicking here.

The third track here is where they do something different as they have taken their recent single Loner and recorded an acoustic version of it.

While a bit of a shift the band have played a couple of acoustic shows over the years and, following in the footsteps of Nirvana and their famed Unplugged offering, have found a way of doing them that works really well.

Coastal Fire Dept
Bobby and Ollie of Coastal Fire Dept

What this acoustic version does is pull the song down and in, highlighting the personal feelings already present in the song and making them even more impactful while the use of two guitars and two sets of vocals, from Ollie Goddard and Bobby Battle, makes the sound a lot more than many stripped back acoustic recordings of rock bands might often be.

Ultimately this is a nice twist on their usual stuff and has left me wanting them to explore this further, possibly with the expanded instrumentation like the aforementioned Seattle band did.

As an EP then What Do I does, to start with, feel a bit like Coastal Fire Dept pulling together their work from the summer but the acoustic version of Loner adds a nice difference to this and continues to show a band who, while by their admission are solidly rooted in a style, are exploring it even deeper and finding some interesting new wrinkles.

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