A four-piece rock brotherhood from York, Us Amongst The Rest belong to the minority of alternative-rock artists that create a memorable work to remain imprinted on your mind. Flavoured with a soulful take on the over-crowded genre, Follow The Truth becomes all the more impressive for its achievement as a debut release, and one the quartet should be glowing with pride over. Vocalist Karl Sandor muses, “in the town we are from it seems there are almost more bands than there are audiences to listen to them. We unintentionally wrote an album to better define us in our hometown of York”. Despite their immediate intentions, this album declares itself with a force bound to stretch beyond the north.
There is an air of sophistication laced into every track on the album that deceives you to believe that it’s a third or fourth full length release, not the usual over-confidence of a second record or the bold naivety of a debut. Working alongside Sam and Joe Graves (Axewound, Glamour of the Kill, Asking Alexandria) will have had a dramatic contribution to this, but the deliberate precision in every second of this album stretches far beyond the clean production. It feels as though this is a creation of years of creative concentration, with each and every moment practised and refined until it could no longer be improved. I’m not one for reducing a work of art to a simple number out of ten, but this is a record to gain full marks.
The self-explanatory Intro commences the record in a manner to give away very little about the subsequent eleven tracks, bar the most subtle hint of tension and the suggestion that at some point the sound will break loose into a crescendo. Neatly side-stepping the common pitfall of breaking open the second track with harsh vocals, Fields of Fray takes what the opener left off and gives it the gust to take the album to its peak, where it meets with enthralling and vibrant vocals.
The quality of the production is brought to your attention through a few key moments on the album, the opening to Love is The Bull being one of these; a mix of layers adds an almost three-dimensional sound to the record, enticing you in before the abrupt introduction to the bulk of the track. Bring The Fuel pays homage to the delicacy of the earlier tracks in the production, whilst leading to the crescendo promised in the intro. Its empowering determination and refrains bodes well for gang vocals and the close almost begs for a mosh pit; it’s an album that urges you to see it live.
Blood in Me and Angels are polar opposites in many aspects, but the common factor of darker lyrics and a hint of Bullet For My Valentine influences stay strong through both, with the latter being my favourite off the record (although possible more suited to close the record). There’s no doubt as to why the title derives from seventh track Follow The Truth – it’s the perfect sample of everything the record has to offer, most bountifully in its originality and hints of philosophy. This is possibly flawless.
In some ways it feels as though the majority of focus was put into the first stint of the record, as where there was a sense of the record was ever-changing and developing through the first seven tracks, it seems to level off a tad from the eighth song onwards. Despite the terrifying sincerity of the line, “you’re better off dead”, in Silver and Lead and the distinctly more classic-rock approach to the sound of Horizons, it’s not until Unforgettable that the album out-does itself again. The crescendo of the record finally feels reached, with clean cuts and a rough romantic side to add a touch on the personal side of the track.
Penultimate Rise gives a simplistic but powerful angry-ballad-esque lead into closing Fallen Skies (featuring Sam Graves) which rounds off the record with a careful structure. The dignified rise and fall of the track shifts through a cross section layers, and despite the hints at My Chemical Romance’s Sing, this brings the album to an apt finale with an understated piano outro.
Bands such as Royal Blood and Biffy Clyro have the clear “this is solid, this is exceptional” vibe – this is another one to add to that list. If you haven’t heard of them already, Us Amongst The Rest will soon be everywhere you go.