Sunset Sons – Somewhere Maybe review

Four surfers formed a band to help pay their bills. Just two years later, they’ve been on tour with Imagine Dragons, sold out a headline show at London’s Scala, and are on the verge of releasing their debut album, recorded with Jacquire King (Kings of Leon) and James Lewis (Arctic Monkeys). It’s been something of a dreamlike whirlwind for Sunset Sons, but with the release of full length Very Rarely Say Die set for April 1st, it looks like things are only set to pick up speed.

Their latest video for Somewhere Maybe is another indicator for big things laying ahead of them. The spirit of wanderlust and living in the moment is captured beautifully from the vintage car and clothes to the windows down, wind in your hair, road trip lifestyle that every shot portrays. It’s compelling enough to make you want to get on a train or jump in a car and escape wherever you are – which is exactly what the band intended.

Drummer Jed Laidlaw describes the song as about being about “escapism”. There’s a carefree sense of recklessness in the track, and front man Rory Williams say of working with Jacquire King: “He encouraged us to experiment and there was a feeling of something special and original in the studio when working with him.”

Sunset Sons have perfected the indie pop sound of The Killers meets Circa Waves, or think The Mystery Jets with a bit more punch. Either way, their sound is too original to run the risk of plagarism, they’ve found a different angle to throw themselves into the world of summery pop, and they’re already making leaps and bound to ensure they’re set on sticking there.

On March 23rd the band begin a 14-date UK and Ireland headline tour around the release of Very Rarely Say Die on April 1st.

You can watch the video for Somewhere Maybe below.

We Came From Wolves – Ruiner review

If you play word association with the genre of “Scottish rock”, Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic are bound to leap out of people’s mouth first. Recently there’s been a breakthrough wave of acts following in their wake – think The Xcerts or Fatherson – and We Came From Wolves are just as deserving to be on the same “commendable Scottish rock” roster as them.

2015 saw the band release their debut self titled album, selling out their album release show at Glasgow’s ABC2, and going on to win the Scottish Music Alternative Award for Best Rock/Alternative. This year is set to see them grow further, with a highlands tour locked in to coincide with the release of their next single, Ruiner.

The penultimate track of the album, frontman Kyle Burgess describes Ruiner as: “A frank and bleak self-assessment of a dark period in my early 20’s. The song battles the realisation of pain you are causing others through selfish choices and lifestyles, and opens up to the failures in my life at that point.”

Ruiner is a choppy ocean of sound, the staccato riffs that welcome the song setting you up for rough ride in terms of the bleak subject matter. Burgess’ calm vocals guide you through the storm whilst the self-deprecating lyrics themselves turn out to be as dark as first suspected, but on a dark night there is some hope among the collective, hinted optimism of the gang vocals which pinch the song’s close. There’s no rush in the song, each second though out with a deliberation that is paramount to the smooth execution of the track and safe passage through the storm.

 

Ruiner will be release on March 18th.

The Calls – Garageland review

THECALLS2Think of early music from the Arctic Monkeys. Give it an adrenaline shot of attitude, self awareness, and a punch courtesy of The Streets. Chuck in a bunch of bass-y riffs. You’re hitting near the mark for the forthcoming release from Leeds four piece The Calls, their four track EP, Garageland, being out on March 18th. They’re influenced by big names, from The Smiths through John Cooper Clarke to Pulp, but they do a brilliant job of disregarding conformity entirely and not sounding like anyone but themselves.

Garageland is a handmade, rustic, rocking chair. There’s a down-to-earth tang in Tom Fuller’s vocals that secures its feet on reliable ground with an edge adding authenticity and more than a little character. There’s a perpetual energy that pushes through all of the tracks, not lulling after the eagerness of the first two has blown over and leaving the closing track to tie up any lose ends. And there’s the originality, the flare, that only comes up when something’s been handcrafted.

Turn the volume up and be ready to get winded by the kick the EP opens with in On The Stairs. Among the stop-start energy and Alex Turner-esque attitude, there’s a hint of The Who. Think not so much the music, but of the aggressive momentum depicted in Quadrophenia when the mods make a stand. This is a track that’s gonna bite back.

You could be fooled for thinking Back In Town was about to open up to be an early era Wombats track, and though there’s a similar feeling of begrudged enthusiasm in the vocal work, that’s where the common denominators end. The lyrics are relatively everyday – someone back in town, drumming up reasons to not see them – and whilst the line “it’ll never be the same” seems to add a little life, the motivation seems a little deflated.

Lovers and Thieves is the EP’s crowning joy – take all the best parts of late 90s-early 00s alt-rock and put them in a blender to produce this gem that sounds like a compilation best hits of them all. It’s below the three minute mark, but it’s a brilliant wave of energy that satisfies all nostalgia for the days when music meant kicking and screaming energy.

What We Left Behind starts off with an ambiguous riff that indie-pop bands like Circa Waves wouldn’t be keen to disregard, but give it ten seconds and the closing track brings some punches too. Let the full band come in and you’ve got a distinct bassline to push things along whilst the forefront of the track has riffs careering around and dancing all over it. Forty seconds seems like a short intro when it’s this absorbing, and once the instrumental shifts to the back burner and Fuller’s heavy vocals leap it, any trace of beach pop is blown away.

If you’re a fan of good music, you’ll be a fan of The Calls.

You can listen to Back In Town below.

Love|Less – The Lonely (Acoustic) review

For one reason or another, bands of all genres and sizes like to record acoustic covers of their own, and others’, songs. Sometimes, this is a fantastic choice and it works out wonderfully – the screaming success of This Wild Life’s cover of Sleepwalking is a perfect example of how well it can work out. On the other hand, these can often amount to nothing more than a bunch of people sat in a shoddily tidied living room whilst one plays their dad’s acoustic guitar and another sings at a low quality camera, the other members purely there to make up the numbers, waiting for their Spotify to raise enough money to record their next EP.

You’ll be glad to hear that Love|Less fall on the successful side of this line. Their acoustic version of The Lonely, a track which originally featured on their most recent EP Hollow Faith, is beautifully shot and recorded, and whilst subdued and minimalistic, it allows the focus – both visually and aurally – to rest on the music, not any flashing, over-done music video.

Every band has the “token acoustic track” – A Day To Remember have If It Means A Lot To You, Mallory Knox’s first album had 1949 – but this is the token acoustic track to trump them all. Love|Less have taken a huge, powerful song, and stripped it back to a personal, intimate song, whilst letting the feeling of solidarity still slip into the final refrains. Kudos.

The Lonely (Acoustic) is the first track to be released off their forthcoming The Acoustics EP, and was premiered with Already Heard, with further videos set for release throughout March. The London quintet traveled to Texas to record their most recent EP along with seventeen other tracks, a true testament to their hard work and dedication. It might be easy to brush this off as another band doing another acoustic cover, but I ask that you don’t do that.

You can listen to The Lonely (Acoustic) below.

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Long Live Happy Birthday review

TWIABPAIANLATDLong Live Happy Birthday will be the latest release from Connecticut “emo” band The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die on March 25th. This two track EP comes soon after the release of their very good sophomore album Harmlessness, and it’s clear to see that these two tracks here could’ve easily fit in somewhere on that record.

In fact, these were written at the same time as the album, so it might be better to treat these as bonus tracks rather than a completely different project from the band, albeit a good way to get a release of a new 7” EP out there.

That’s not to say these tracks aren’t different though, perhaps more grand than what was on their last album. On Harmlessness, the band slightly drifted from the post-rock leanings of their debut and went with a more emo indie rock driven album, similar to the 90s emo bands like American Football, Sunny Day Real Estate and a more recent band like Death Cab for Cutie, also.

The vocals were more upfront and vibrant, even if at times a little corny, but that does tend to come with the emo package. And I’d say we definitely get more of these Death Cab for Cutie-isms on this EP here as well, perhaps a post-hardcore version of Death Cab. Katamari Duquette being the better of the two, and surprising much heavier than what the band has previously released, which only works in their favour as the track builds into an epic crescendo and only leaves me wishing the track was longer to see where how far they could have taken this.

The track bursts into its most passionate moments when the refrain comes throttling in: “Away with god, away with love / Our hands are tied and stepped on.” Even More Forever moves at a slower pace and feels like it’s taking a little long to get somewhere, but the lyrics do keep you interested, like much of this band’s music, they still manage to keep an atmosphere sticking with you throughout. The lyrical poignancy of their last album really flourishes on this EP, and it’s interesting to see where there’ll take this approach in the future.