L’Objectif, the teenaged group of Leeds gloom punks, have released their debut EP Have It Your Way.
Featuring a collision of angular guitar lines, chaotic tumbling rhythms, busy bass lines, and a keen ear for melodies, the EP constantly flips between gothic dreariness and exuberant danceability, sometimes within the same song.
Album opener ‘Cinematic’ is all of these elements distilled into a neat four-and-a-half-minutes. A hazy ode to escape and the pain that comes with it, the song is as open and hazy as the band allows itself to be. When singer Saul Kane self-censors himself with the loudest and most obtrusive bleep possible, I nearly spat out my coffee with laughter. All of a sudden, a sullen group of post-punk devotees had a sense of humour, and I was fully on board. Sometimes it’s the little things that you really remember.
“Have It Your Way is a collection of songs that were made in a very specific time in our lives – a place of uncertainty and confusion,” Kane explains in a press release. “Each song has a separate narrative with its own ideas and themes so they all feel like their own project. It was almost like we had to create different worlds in our songs in order to escape the pressures of the one we are actually living in.”
If you’ve been following L’Objectif, then you already know more than half of the album’s material: ‘Do It Again’, ‘Burn Me Out’, and ‘Drive In Mind’ were all previously released as singles. The other two songs, the aforementioned ‘Cinematic’ and EP closer ‘Have It Your Way’, don’t stray far from the band’s propulsive alt-rock sound. Maybe they weren’t released as singles because the former was a little too dense and the latter was a little too poppy, with the band favouring a more straight down the middle approach. Maybe those songs were passed up because they didn’t have exactly three words in the title. It’s impossible to know for sure.
It does seem strange to me that ‘Have It Your Way’, easily the EP’s catchiest and most mainstream-adjacent track, wasn’t released as anything other than an album track. With elastic guitar lines and a disco rhythmic thump keeping things light and airy, Kane gets to spit out snotty lyrics as the band aims straight for the dance floor. One would think that this was the foot that the band would want to put forward to an audience who had never heard them before, but maybe it really was too catchy and accessible to be the band’s first impression.
In that way, Have It Your Way does a fair amount to balance the band’s more pop-adjacent predilections with their roots in alternative and post-punk. The band don’t always seem completely sure which direction to take their music, but as an initial taste of where this incredibly young band is starting out their hopefully long and fruitful career, Have It Your Way is both a satisfying listening experience and an exciting indicator for the future.