The band themselves describe this masterpiece as a “compilation album … a mixture of rare tracks, demos, remixes and B sides”, and the use of the word “masterpiece” is no exaggeration. Within the first few seconds of the opening track I could tell this was something a little special, and before I was halfway through I was pretty much blown away. I see a lot of bands of a similar size to these guys producing music that they don’t particularly like, fitting into the general category of “alternative/post-hardcore rock”, because that’s what everyone else is doing, and it’s working for them. More often than not these bands fall apart because they don’t particularly like what they’re doing. Most of all though, it’s no different to what anyone else is doing at the time, so no one’s all that interested unless it’s really something special. So, what caught me about this album? I’ve never heard anything quite like it.
Imagine a mix between The 1975, Crowded House and your generic “post-hardcore” rock band, perhaps with a little bit of Everything Everything thrown in, and you’ve pretty much got this album to a T. That’s the thing, though; it can’t be classified or narrowed down. The opening tracks, Signs, sets a very relaxed mood for the album, and although the vocals are fairly similar throughout the whole record, it by no means feel uncreative or monotone. There is a certain mix of experimental and control in their music, and it’s clear that years of working as a band have lead to a refined style – there’s a certain self-assured attitude to their music; not cockiness, but a sense that this is what they want to create.
The fifth track on the album, an acoustic version of The Lights Go Down, is a particular favourite for me. Taking away any electro element to the music, this is quite simple and phenomenal in it. I’m struck with the idea that this song would be incredibly fitting in a film – I think that underlines how professional it sounds, and how well executed their music is. This is followed with the thought “I wonder how good they are live”. Moving away from acoustic to the other end of the scale brings you to an dubstep remix of Starting Again, another personal favourite (although I could probably say that about every track).
I guess, perhaps, if you pushed me, I could bring up the occasional flaw. Some of the notes sound a tad painful, and the occasionally the instrumental feels rather recycled. These small matters don’t stop this album from being the best new music I have heard since Lacey released Outlaws last year – I am beyond impressed, if there’s a word for that.