(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #286: Save Your Breath

By on Wednesday, 15th January 2014 at 10:00 am

There probably wasn’t a lot to do on a Saturday night in the port city of Newport in the south of Wales. Friends Ben Griffiths and Tom Owens solved the boredom by forming a band that eventually was fleshed out to become Save Your Breath. Taking their pop punk sensibilities from the likes of Green Day and their ilk, they forged their sound from the grit of the life around them. What must have started out as a lark between school chums, titles like ‘Not in the Mood for Kiwi’ and ‘Holy Shit, Fortune Teller Miracle Fish!’ show up on their first album, they have matured enough to temper their weird song titles but still have energetic, aggressive tunes worthy of a listen. The current line-up has Kristian Richards taking vocals, Dave Harries on guitar and Owen Bei providing the backbone.

Debut EP ‘Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy’ was released in 2009 with the album ‘Vices’ and EP ‘Recover’ following. Currently on Animal Style Records, the band released ‘There Used to be a Place For Us’ at the end of 2013 and is poised to introduce themselves to an American audience at SXSW 2014 this spring.

England had its punk heyday and New York City changed it and carried it westward. Pop punk found its home in California by marrying punk sensibilities with brighter melodies that were injected with a bit of Southern California. This sound spread through the underbelly of America’s small cities trying to make their own voices heard. But these guys are from South East Wales not Southern California – not the most artistically flourishing area of the UK. Even one of the logos used by the band for their latest record takes aim, tongue in cheek, at the industrial bent of their hometown of Newport and the southern Welsh stereotype. To have delightful pop punk emerge from this roughish Welsh border town is quite invigorating.

While I can’t say that there is anything vastly new and different about them, they do serve up a tasty dose of pop melodies with speedy punk tempos, chord changes and loud guitars – exactly what pop punk is supposed to do. The catchy hooks and addictive guitar riffs make my head and shoulders get into it, they are ripe for radio play and likely give a killer live show.

Getting the nod to attend SXSW after a couple of releases (they are not rank newbies) shows the confidence their label has in them wowing the American crowd as they have been doing in smaller shows throughout the UK and Europe with their quite infectious, yet heavy driving sound. Save Your Breath are currently touring with We Are the In Crowd in cities across the UK.


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