And So I Watch You From Afar: All Hail Bright Futures
And So I Watch You From Afar's third album All Hail Bright Futures could be taken as both an ethos for the album and the band at this point in time. There is a new color scheme in place: new textures, emotions, sounds and voices. The 12-track, 43 minute album is dominated by a sunnier disposition, a positive uplift that more closely matches the euphoria the Northern Ireland trio has been instilling in audiences through their music in a live setting for the last five years.
There are moments of tropical guitar pop ('Rats On Rock'), percussive bleeping song foundations paired with infectious vocals ('The Stay Golden'), a trumpet arrangement ('Young Brave Minds'), an orchestral interlude '(Trails'), singalong mantras ('Big Things Do Remarkable'), harmonic hooks ('Like A Mouse'), a flute melody ('Mend And Make Safe') along with cutup vocals and handclaps ('Ka Ba Ta Bo Da Ka'). All of these new additions to the ASIWYFA sound are underpinned by their trademark guitar riffs that bliss the musical brain, complemented by the colossal and increasingly expressive rhythm section that comforts as much as it bludgeons.
Continuing the unparalleled pace at which they've been touring for over five years now, ASIWYFA have taken their uplifting sound to places other bands could only imagine. Since the release of 2011's second album Gangs, the band have added China, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to their already considerably stamped passports. As well as these far-flung, seldom played places, the band have gigged all over North America and Europe, bringing their total show tally close to 500.
A band can't play 500 shows worldwide without a fanbase and ASIWYFA have a legion. And you can't build a legion of fans across the world without great songs. Gangs earned the band a second Choice Music Prize nomination for Irish Album of The Year 2012 and they recently signed to Sargent House worldwide (home to Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Boris, Fang Island, Chelsea Wolfe and more) for management and label -- which will release the band's third album All Hail Bright Futures in March 2013.
All Hail Bright Futures is ASIWYFA's first recording done as a three-piece following the departure of Tony Wright. The band will head back out on the road as a four piece with their new full time member Niall Kennedy. The album was recorded with Rocky O' Reilly at Start Together Studio in Belfast. It is their boldest statement yet, an album bursting with a positive vigor, that states a renewed case for a magnetizing band at their best.
T T N G formerly known as This Town Needs Guns are: Tim Collis (guitar), Chris Collis (drums) Henry Tremain (vocals, bass)
"This Town Needs Guns sound stylish, sussed and like reformed mathcore men Minus The Bear covering seminal Mancunian miserablists The Smiths. Good, in other words." -- Kerrang
Oxford, England's TTNG has always been known for walking a tightrope line between pop melody and technical precision. But, their sophomore album, 18.104.22.168.0 finds the band blurring the lines so masterfully that their intricate, spindling guitar lines and soaring pop hooks reach unforeseen apexes. And, so it's fitting that the band titled their new album after esoteric means of counting: 22.214.171.124.0 referring to the Mayan calendar's Long Count indicating the beginning (August 11, 3114 BCE) and ending (December 21, 2012) of the current creation.
126.96.36.199.0 is their first album featuring their new vocalist Henry Tremain following the amicable departure of former lead singer Stuart Smith in 2011. This lineup shows considerable growth and cohesion with Tim Collis' signature bluegrass style finger-picking electric guitar lines weaving around brother and drummer Chris Collis' stop 'n' go syncopated rhythms as Tremain's rich vocals glide across the proceedings. But it's the band's earnest songwriting that really shines herein.
TTNG have stayed true to their sound rather than chasing pop payoff like many of their contemporaries. The result is a leaner, stronger version of themselves similar to the way kindred spirits Pinback and Grizzly Bear have honed unique identities over many years. Album opener "Cat Fantastic" kicks things off at a spritely pace with an incredibly nimble clawhammer plucking guitar melody that sounds like a hybrid of Flatt & Scruggs crossed with Robert Fripp. But, it's the warmth to Tremain's voice and the song's hooky chord progression that makes it easy to forget the depth of musicianship on display throughout. Elsewhere, ethereal vocal melodies weave together with rapid-fire guitar and bass interplay on "Havoc In The Forum" and a sliced-up sounding drum pattern on "I'll Take The Minute Snake." Tremain's vocal acrobatics in "Left Aligned" reach stunning highs while slithering bass chords, fugue-like guitar notes and rollicking drums form a sturdy base. "188.8.131.52.1" perfectly closes the album with a chiming lullaby of interwoven piano and lightly plucked guitar notes.
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